Dr Giovanni Musolino

PhD Thesis: Flood modelling and hazard assessment for extreme events in riverine basins

PhD Supervisors: Dr Reza Ahmadian and Professor Roger Falconer


Recently, effects of climate change and the increasing rate of anthropic activities in flood-prone areas are aggravating the dangers posed by floods to people. Hence it is crucial to have a better understanding of flood hazard aspects, particularly when considering pedestrians. Indeed, one of the main reasons for fatality during flood events is walking through floodwaters. Although authorities strongly advise against walking in flood waters, people keep having dangerous behaviours, on the other side evacuations or the accessing of flooded areas by emergency services might be necessary.

The scope of this research work is to give a contribution in improving flood hazard assessment and in the design of flood evacuation plans considering a pedestrian perspective.

In order to enhance flood hazard assessment a Mechanics-Based Method (MBM) have been improved considering effects of terrain slope and updating values of human body characteristics, as well considering the Body Mass Index to identify the pedestrian critical category. Different criteria to assess flood hazard have been considered, including the revised MBM reported herein. Results from the application of the different criteria to two different case studies, namely Boscastle and Borth, shown that methods based on a full physical analysis, and which considers as well human characteristics, gives more insight and reliability in assessing flood hazard especially when considering pedestrians.

Moreover, results from assessing flood hazard with a pedestrian perspective have been used to develop a methodology for designing evacuation plans for pedestrians in case of flood events, the methodology allows to design flood evacuations keeping in account both flood and pedestrian characteristics.

Improving the resilience of sites prone to flooding and planning more resilient future developments is a key part of flood risk management. In this regards this research work proposes a novel approach to increasing resilience by retrofitting existing infrastructures to enhance evacuation and access routes by reducing flood hazard rate. Results of the application of this novel methodology to the aforementioned case studies highlighted that retrofitting small portions of the existing roads can enhance people’s safety during the evacuation and hence provide a cost-effective solution to improve the resilience of the existing environment.

Academic Background
Giovanni was a PhD student in the EPSRC funded WISE Centre for Doctoral Training between 2016-2021.  Following successful completion of the Postgraduate School in Water Informatics at the University of Exeter, Givoanni spent the next three years developing his PhD research at Cardiff University.

Prior to joining WISE, Giovanni’s prior academic background was:

  • MSc in Analysis and Mitigation of Hydro-Geological Risk at University “Sapienza” of Rome, Italy.
  • MEng in Civil Engineering with specialization in Water, River and Coastal Engineering at University “Mediterranea” of Reggio Calabria, Italy.
  • BEng in Civil Engineering at University “Mediterranea” of Reggio Calabria, Italy.

Work Experience
Giovanni has extensive work experience both in academia and industry. In academia as a Research Fellow at the University of Malta, where he was involved in a project regarding geophysical methods and measurement applied to the evaluation of the coastal cliff stability and the evaluation of site effects and soil structure resonance. In industry as a Freelance Engineer working for a number of different companies throughout Italy; in the sector of water and environmental engineering.

Research Interests
Flood Risk, Water Management, Hydraulic modelling, Water pollution, Natural Hazards, Water & Environmental Engineering, and Renewable Energy.

Other Interests
Outside of academia and industry, Giovanni has various interests, including: playing guitar, swimming, wildlife photography, trekking and cooking.


2020 Industry Day Research Poster

2017 Summer School Research Presentation

2017 Summer School Research Poster