Foto del docente

Alberto Montanari

Full Professor

Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental, and Materials Engineering

Academic discipline: ICAR/02 Hydraulic Structures, Maritime Engineering and Hydrology


Keywords: Peak river flows Uncertainty Floods Hydrological simulation Climate change Hydrology

Alberto Montanari began his research activity in 1993, by initially studying prediction and real time forecasting of rainfall events. In this respect he also worked at the detection of the possible presence of non-stationarity in long rainfall records observed in Italy, by also inspecting the effects that such non-stationarity can induce in the evaluation of the design storms.

Subsequently, the research activity was mainly devoted to techniques for the simulation of synthetic hydrological data observed at fine time-scale. These studies were conducted during two stays at the Boston University, working with M.S. Taqqu. During his Ph.D., he also made some experiments of practical application of a modified version of the Streeter-Phelps water quality model to small Italian torrents.

In the recent past he also made some studies aimed at identifying the optimal coupling of rainfall-runoff models and stochastic models for performing real-time flood forecasting.

The current research activity is carried out within the following main subjects:

1) Distributed rainfall-runoff models for flood estimation and forecasting.

2) Analysis of the effects of land-use change on flood and drought risk.

3) Estimation of the environmental flow requirements downstream water withdrawals in natural rivers.

4) Analysis of the spatial distribution and spatial clustering of landslide events at the basin scale.

5) Uncertainty analysis in hydrological modelling.

Within topic (1), Alberto Montanari has recently set up and made available on the world wide web the code for the application of a spatially distributed rainfall-runoff model that he developed in the latter years. It is essentially a conceptual, grid based model that has been applied within topic (2) in order to assess the effects on the river flows of recent land-use changes that occurred in the administrative district of the city of Bologna (Italy). Topic (3) is nowadays becoming more and more popular in Italy, since local administrations are imposing to respect the environmental flow requirements downstream of relevant water withdrawals from natural rivers. Alberto Montanari recently proposed a multi-criteria approach for the estimation of the minimum environmental flow. Topic (4) is being developed within a co-operation with the University of Minnesota (prof. C. Paola), with the aim to investigate the possible links between the spatial distribution of hillslope failures and knickpoints positions in natural streams. Topic (5) constitutes the main research interest of Alberto Montanari in the current months. The activity so far developed has resulted in the proposal of a stochastic approach for the estimation of the probability distribution of the simulation error of rainfall-runoff models. The proposed methodology has already received citations by the international scientific literature. Alberto Montanari is currently devoting his main research activity to testing the performances of the uncertainty assessment method known as “Generalised Likelihood Uncertainty Estimator” (GLUE). A paper about these studies was recently published to the journal Water Resources Research.