Wildfires strongly alter hydrological processes and surface and groundwater quality in forested environments. The paired-watershed method, consisting of comparing a burnt (altered) watershed with an unburnt (control) watershed, is commonly adopted in studies addressing the hydrological effects of wildfires. This approach requires a calibration period to assess the pre-perturbation differences and relationships between the control and the altered watershed. Unfortunately, in many studies, the calibration phase is lacking due to the unpredictability of wildfires and the large number of processes that should be investigated. So far, no information is available on the possible bias induced by the lack of the calibration period in the paired-watershed method when assessing the hydrological impacts of wildfires. Through a literature review, the consequences of the lack of calibration on the assessment of wildfire hydrological changes were evaluated, along with the most used watershed pairing strategies. The literature analysis showed that if calibration is lacking, misestimation of wildfire impacts is likely, particularly when addressing low-severity or long-term wildfire effects. The Euclidean distance based on physical descriptors (geology, morphology, vegetation) was proposed as a metric of watersheds similarity and tested in mountain watersheds in Central Italy. The Euclidean distance proved to be an effective metric for selecting the most similar watershed pairs. This work raises awareness of biases exerted by lacking calibration in paired-watershed studies and proposes a rigorous and objective methodology for future studies on the hydrological effects of wildfires.

The selection of paired watersheds affects the assessment of wildfire hydrological impacts / Nigro M.; Penna D.; Baneschi I.; Castelli G.; Dani A.; Menichini M.; Piemontese L.; Trucchi P.; Preti F.; Doveri M.; Giannecchini R.. - In: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. - ISSN 0048-9697. - ELETTRONICO. - 941:(2024), pp. 173488.0-173488.0. [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.173488]

The selection of paired watersheds affects the assessment of wildfire hydrological impacts

Nigro M.
;
Penna D.;Castelli G.;Dani A.;Piemontese L.;Trucchi P.;Preti F.;Giannecchini R.
2024

Abstract

Wildfires strongly alter hydrological processes and surface and groundwater quality in forested environments. The paired-watershed method, consisting of comparing a burnt (altered) watershed with an unburnt (control) watershed, is commonly adopted in studies addressing the hydrological effects of wildfires. This approach requires a calibration period to assess the pre-perturbation differences and relationships between the control and the altered watershed. Unfortunately, in many studies, the calibration phase is lacking due to the unpredictability of wildfires and the large number of processes that should be investigated. So far, no information is available on the possible bias induced by the lack of the calibration period in the paired-watershed method when assessing the hydrological impacts of wildfires. Through a literature review, the consequences of the lack of calibration on the assessment of wildfire hydrological changes were evaluated, along with the most used watershed pairing strategies. The literature analysis showed that if calibration is lacking, misestimation of wildfire impacts is likely, particularly when addressing low-severity or long-term wildfire effects. The Euclidean distance based on physical descriptors (geology, morphology, vegetation) was proposed as a metric of watersheds similarity and tested in mountain watersheds in Central Italy. The Euclidean distance proved to be an effective metric for selecting the most similar watershed pairs. This work raises awareness of biases exerted by lacking calibration in paired-watershed studies and proposes a rigorous and objective methodology for future studies on the hydrological effects of wildfires.
2024
941
0
0
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Goal 13: Climate action
Goal 15: Life on land
Nigro M.; Penna D.; Baneschi I.; Castelli G.; Dani A.; Menichini M.; Piemontese L.; Trucchi P.; Preti F.; Doveri M.; Giannecchini R.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Nigro_etal_2024_Paired watershed selection.pdf

Accesso chiuso

Tipologia: Pdf editoriale (Version of record)
Licenza: Tutti i diritti riservati
Dimensione 11.89 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
11.89 MB Adobe PDF   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in FLORE sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificatore per citare o creare un link a questa risorsa: https://hdl.handle.net/2158/1363353
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact