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Local knowledge on surface currents and transport patterns in Lake Garda is acquired through interviews among wind-surfers, sailors, fishermen, ferry boat drivers, firefighters nautical rescue team, and officers from the environmental protection agency. Data are collected by means of individual interviews and focus groups, analyzed for internal consistency and summarized in qualitative maps. Three-dimensional numerical simulations are performed using a one-way coupled atmospheric-hydrodynamic model and the results are compared with the observations of the interviewees. Through this combined effort, currents that were not evident to the scientific community, but are well-known to sailors and surfers, can now be recognized and physically understood, like the 'Corif' that flows along the eastern shore in summertime between late morning and afternoon, when wind blows from the south. The transport patterns are also identified, like the predominant east-to-west surface transport experienced by fishermen under storm events and floods, that is confirmed for northerly wind, and the west-to-east transport for southerly wind. Moreover, the trajectory of a drifting capsized boat is reproduced by the model and the dynamics of the accident (location and timing) are reconstructed in collaboration with the firefighters nautical rescue team of Trento and based on information from local newspapers and witnesses. This exercise demonstrates that the joint effort of the scientific community and local experts can produce advances in the understanding of large-scale hydrodynamic processes in lakes.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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