DATE2022-05-30 14:40:39
TITLEInterconnection of floods, forest fires and mudflows under the prism of climate change. The case of Lamia airport, Greece
AUTHORSConstantinos Nefros (1) ,Gianna Kitsara (2) ,Constantinos Loupasakis (1) ,Christos Giannakopoulos (2)
  1. 1) National Technical University Of Athens, School Of Mining And Metallurgical Engineering, Athens (Greece) ,2) National Observatory Of Athens, Institute For Environmental Research And Sustainable Development, Athens (Greece)
ABSTRACTDue to climate crisis, the number of forest fires and extreme precipitation events is expected to be significantly increased, in the following decades, especially in the Mediterranean area. The combination of these two phenomena can lead to extensive mudflows with devastating results to critical infrastructures, such as airports. In this direction, the destructive phenomena occurred in September 2020 in Lamia, central Greece, and their impact on the vulnerability of the local airport are analysed, and their interconnection is evaluated. In 2019 the Lamia prefecture was affected by huge wildfire events. More specifically 1074.81 acres have been burned, mostly consisted by forests, and cultivated areas. The extent of the burned area was significantly higher than the mean annual burned area in that region (347.19 acres) during the previous decade (2009-2018). The absence of suitable response measures resulted to the progressive soil erosion of the burned area. Moreover, on 18th September 2020, an extreme precipitation event, the “Ianos” Medicane (Mediterranean hurricane), affected the prefecture of Lamia. It is noted that the local meteorological station recorded 134.6 mm of precipitation, which was by far the highest value from the beginning of the meteorological station’s function (the second highest value recorded was 77m). As a result of these two extreme phenomena, a huge volume of mudflow by the burned area was created and headed towards to Maliac gulf through the local drain basin. The mudflow blocked the flow in the concrete sewer pipes under the local bridges. The outskirts of the Lamia city, including the Lamia airport, were flooded and the extensive mudflow inserted into the airport causing serious damages to the airport’s buildings, the airport’s electronic equipment and to two firefighting aircrafts (type PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromader) that that were landed at that time. The airport’s function was disrupted for almost a month. Using Sentinel-2 images, before and after the precipitation event, and the European Space Agency (ESA) classification algorithm it was evaluated that 35.33% of the total airport’s area was covered with mud and water. The main objective of this study is to highlight the increased vulnerability of critical infrastructures, such as airports, due to the impacts of climate change, and the necessity for adaptation measures.