Large parts of the North-Western Italian regions are characterised by alpine areas of complex terrain, areas that are widely inhabited and economically exploited by tourism, sports and production activities. For these areas, it is essential to be able to provide accurate weather forecasts to protect the inhabitants and the territory.

The meteorological models used today for forecasts and alerts have a maximum resolution of 1 km. Therefore, they cannot solve the complexity of Alpine orography. Meteorological measurements are also incomplete since they are carried out in a limited number of sites in the high mountains and most of the time only with traditional instruments. Furthermore, in these areas the ongoing climate change has had significant effects on the glaciers (their shrinkage) and slope stability, making the general conditions of the territory changeable and sometimes precarious.

Several land-use implemented into WRF model with Corine Land Cover added by the Authors

The main aim of the MetAlp project is to develop a meteorological model. It should be able to predict meteorological phenomena in Alpine areas with high accuracy. In particular, the project will develop a new version of the WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting model) with a horizontal resolution of less than one kilometre, adapted to work in the Alpine area. The model will be guided by high resolution static geographical and land use data (Corine Land Cover 2012) while the surrounding weather conditions will be provided by the ERA5 archive processed at the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-range and Weather Forecasts).

The Alpe Veglia micrometeorological station and the snow stick

In parallel with the modeling studies, field campaigns to measure traditional meteorological quantities and turbulence, as well as parameters related to the soil, such as temperature, humidity and heat flow in the ground, are underway and planned.

The atmospheric turbulence and other studies on the Surface Layer (SL) and on the Atmospheric Boundary Layer (ABL or Planetary Boundary Layer, or in mountainous terrain Mountain Boundary Layer), are performed using mainly the sonic anemometer.

Sonic anemometer installed at the Inn Valley, i-Box Project
The access road to Alpe Veglia, November 2018

The aims of the project are:

  • Build a set of high-quality and rare observations for high-altitude complex terrains, using the Alpe Veglia as a reference site
  • Improve the WRF model by implementing new static fields and testing combinations of parameterizations
  • Check the meteorological model with some case studies, on the data collected in the Alpe Veglia pilot site, and in neighboring sites

The results of the project, and the progress of the research are available on the page The Research while some graphs, data request and meteorological data are available in the section Data and plots of this website.

The MetAlp Project is founded by Fondazione CRT (RF 2019.0455)

Il progetto MetAlp e la divulgazione dei risultati ottenuti sono sostenuti dal Comitato Scientifico Ligure Piemontese Valdostano del Club Alpino Italiano.

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