Articles | Volume 372
Proc. IAHS, 372, 315–321, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/piahs-372-315-2015
Proc. IAHS, 372, 315–321, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/piahs-372-315-2015

  12 Nov 2015

12 Nov 2015

Evolution of the techniques for subsidence monitoring at regional scale: the case of Emilia-Romagna region (Italy)

G. Bitelli1, F. Bonsignore2, I. Pellegrino3, and L. Vittuari1 G. Bitelli et al.
  • 1University of Bologna, DICAM – Dept of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, Bologna, Italy
  • 2ARPA-Emilia-Romagna – Regional Agency for Environmental Prevention in Emilia-Romagna, Bologna, Italy
  • 3Regione Emilia-Romagna, Direzione Generale Ambiente e Difesa del Suolo e della Costa, Bologna, Italy

Abstract. The recent decades have seen a significant evolution of the methodologies and techniques for the monitoring of subsidence on a regional scale: from the traditional levelling technique to GNSS and finally to SAR interferometry. The case study of Emilia-Romagna, Italy, is a prime example of this evolution.

As known, the Emilia-Romagna plain is subject to a phenomenon of subsidence with a natural and an anthropogenic component, both of varying amounts depending on the area. The first contributes a few mm/year; the second, particularly evident in the last 60 years, is mainly correlated to excessive withdrawal of fluids from underground and reaches higher values (in the past, subsidence rates of several cm per year were observed in the Po delta and near Bologna).

The geodetic monitoring of subsidence started in the 1950s by different entities, establishing and measuring levelling networks of varying size and with various characteristics, mainly located where the phenomenon was most clearly manifest. These local initiatives were not able to provide a consistent understanding of the phenomenon throughout the entire Emilia-Romagna plain.

The first regional-scale monitoring of the Emilia-Romagna plain was initiated in 1999, with a large levelling network (about 3000 km) and a coupled network of 60 GNSS points. In subsequent years, the monitoring approach has mainly focused on the most modern remote sensing techniques integrated with each other, with the adoption of the method DInSAR calibrated to a GNSS Continuous Operating Reference Stations (CORS) database. The application of DInSAR methods resulted in subsidence maps with a greater level of detail.

The paper analyzes the methodology choices made during 1999–2012, through three successive campaigns that adopted and integrated the different techniques.