Preface: 11th Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Storms

Authors: M.-C. Llasat, G. Boni, R. Deidda, A. Mugnai, and J. Salat


The EGU Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Storms was established in 1999 within the framework of the InterdisciplinaryWorking Group on Natural Hazards (IWG-NH) of the former European Geophysical Society (EGS) – since 2002, European Geosciences Union (EGU). Since its advent, the Plinius Conference series has provided a crucial interdisciplinary forum for improving our understanding of hazardous storms over the Mediterranean basin that are capable of producing strong winds, heavy rains, explosive landslides, devastating flash floods and other related extremes. Given the progress both in the understanding of many of the basic scientific aspects of the triggering, growth, maintenance, and physical impacts of Mediterranean storms, as well as in the model prediction concerning storm life cycles and their hazardous impacts, the 11th Plinius Conference encouraged an even greater interdisciplinary participation than in previous editions. This was achieved by continuing to reach out to scientific experts in the fields of meteorology, climatology, hydrology,
and geomorphology, as well as extending the reach into the disciplines of oceanography, sociology, economics, engineering, and the government management sector.

In total 211 contributions were submitted, and more than 150 scientists attended the conference. Scientific topics encompassed a wide range and included the following: (i) the nature and physical processes of extreme events; (ii) possible changes in storm behavior resulting from anticipated changes in climate; (iii) advanced techniques to observe, monitor and forecast hazardous storms; (iv) relationships between atmospheric and surface processes for both land and sea situations, with particular emphasis on the effects of coupled processes in generating damaging floods and landslides; and (v) socioeconomic implications of hazardous storms, risk
mitigation and resilience in the framework of sustainable development.

Consequently, the conference included 12 topics that will be introduced along with this preface to the special issue. This conference also provided a meeting venue for various ongoing international initiatives and projects that seek better ways to investigate or cope with Mediterranean storms: the open session of the European FLASH project (Observations, Analysis and Modeling of Lightning Activity in Thunderstorms, for use in Short Term Forecasting of Flash Floods); the joint MedCLIVAR (Mediterranean CLImate VARiability and Predictability), HyMeX (HYdrological cycle in Mediterranean EXperiment) and MEDFRIEND (Mediterranean Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data) meeting concerning collection of precipitation data associated with Mediterranean storms; and the annual meeting of the MEDEX Project (MEDiterranean
EXperiment) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The conference was closed with a round table that was attended by several participants, who drew a series of conclusions and recommendations with special emphasis on the potential synergies among the different  disciplines. These conclusions are summarized within the various sections of this introductory paper, which contains a synthesis of the 38 papers included in this NHESS special issue, as well as of some papers published in the joint special issue of “Advances in Geosciences” (ADGEO) relative to this conference (Llasat et al., 2010a).



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