BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0361.v1
Online: 23 May 2020 (05:40:26 CEST)
Italy suffered heavily with the new pandemic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Given the low number of tests performed on the early stages of the outbreak, Italy lost track of most of infections. We use a modified SEIR model to reconstruct the most realistic infection curve using the hospitalization curve of the registered data. Using this method we estimated that, by the end of the first infection wave, about 3-4% of the population will have been infected by the virus. Following the same process, the number of deaths is projected to be between 100000 to 115000. We also find a significant correlation between the number of tests performed, the fraction of undocumented infections and the rate of change dI/dt of the real infection curve. We conclude that herd immunity is not enough to contain further spread of the disease inside the country.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0036.v1
Online: 4 October 2021 (09:44:35 CEST)
There are scarce data regarding flu vaccination among people with HIV infection (PWHIV). The goal of this explorative study is to assess hesitancy toward influenza vaccination in a group of PWHIV during the pandemic. A questionnaire was administered to 219 patients vaccinated at our clinic during the 2020-2021 campaign. It evaluated subjects’ adherence over the last 3 seasonal vaccination campaigns, vaccine confidence, complacency and convenience, and the effect of the pandemic on the choice to vaccinate. The population was divided into two groups: fully adherent (all 3 campaigns, 117 patients) and non-fully adherent (1 or 2 campaigns, 102 patients). Adherence increased in non-fully adherent group in 2020-2021, but the pandemic did not affect the choice. Misbelieves emerged: influenza vaccine was considered protective SARS-CoV-2 (22.8% of total population); almost half of all patients thought influenza vaccine could improve their CD4+ cell level (57.3% in fully adherent, 40.2% in non-fully adherent, p<0.05). A quarter of the non-fully adherent group would not have vaccinated in a location other than our clinic (24.5% vs 11.9% in fully adherent group, p<0.05). Conclusively, offering a secure and private space for vaccination seems to encourage vaccination; healthcare professionals should improve counselling to increase adherence and correct misbeliefs.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0316.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: agritourism; sustainability; rural policies; FADN; Italy
Online: 18 July 2018 (00:29:49 CEST)
This paper investigates how and to what extent European and national policies, through the analysis of financial support derived from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) (First and Second Pillar) and national and local subsidies, have financed Italian agritourism. For this purpose, the authors have proposed a comparative analysis between Italian agritourism and farms without tourism activities, by stressing the distribution of public financial supports concerning the 2007-2013 programming period of the European Union (EU) for Rural Development. The empirical analysis is based on the Italian Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) dataset. The data were stratified by altimetry zone and farm size. Descriptive statistics and the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) for each group were used. The main results show how the Second Pillar has mainly supported small and medium-sized farms with tourism activities and located in disadvantaged areas. This study could be useful to policymakers regarding evaluation of the mission for diversification in agriculture, represented here by the carrying out of tourist activities on farms and the contribution for the retention of small-scale farms in marginal areas.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201711.0112.v1
Online: 16 November 2017 (19:04:21 CET)
The Volturno Plain is one of the largest alluvial plain of peninsular Italy. This area is characterized by both natural and human induced subsidence, and is and most susceptible to coastal hazards. The present study is based on post-processing, analysis and mapping of the available Persistent Scatterer interferometry datasets, derived from combination of both ascending and descending orbits of three different SAR satellite systems, during an observation period of almost two decades (June 1992 - September 2010). The main output of the research work is a map of the vertical deformation that provides new insights into the areal variability of ground deformation processes (subsidence/uplift) of Volturno plain over the last decades. Vertical displacement values derived by interferometric data post-processing show that the Volturno river plain is characterized by significant subsidence in the central axial sectors and in the river mouth area, whereas moderate uplift is detected in the eastern part of the plain. Other sectors of the study area are characterized by moderate subsidence and/or stability. We infer that the subsidence recorded in the Volturno plain is mainly a consequence of a natural process related to the compaction of the fluvial deposits that fill up the alluvial plain. Anthropic influence (e.g. water exploitation, urbanization) can be substantially regarded as an additional factor that only locally may enhance subsidence. The uplift imaged in the eastern sector of the plain can be related to tectonic activity. The study of subsidence in the Volturno plain is a valuable tool relevant for river flood analyses and coastal inundation hazard assessment addressed to risk mitigation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0241.v1
Online: 16 September 2022 (08:07:10 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2 is constantly evolving leading to new variants. We analysed data from 4,400 SARS-CoV-2-positive samples in order to continue variant surveillance in Italy to evaluate their epidemiological and relative impact on public health in the period April-December 2021. The main circulating strain (76.2%) was Delta followed by Alpha (13.3%), Omicron (5.3%) and Gamma variants (2.9%). B.1.1 lineages, Eta, Beta, Iota, Mu and Kappa variants represented around 1% of cases. Overall, 48.2% of subjects were not vaccinated with a lower median age compared to vaccinated subjects (47 vs. 61 years). An increasing number of infections in vaccinated subjects was observed overtime, with the highest proportion in November (85.2%). Variants correlated with clinical status; the largest proportion of symptomatic patients (59.6%) was observed among Delta variant, while subjects harboring Gamma variant showed the highest proportion of asymptomatics (21.6%), albeit also of deaths (5.4%). The Omicron variant was only found in vac-cinated subjects, of which 47% were hospitalized. Diffusivity and pathogenicity associated with the different SARS-CoV-2 variants are likely to have relevant public health implications, both at national and international level. Our study pro-vides data on the rapid changes in the epidemiological landscape of SARS-CoV-2 variants in Italy.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0124.v1
Online: 4 June 2021 (08:18:09 CEST)
The Italian Peninsula, a natural pier across the Mediterranean Sea, witnessed intricate population events since the very beginning of human occupation in Europe. In the last few years, an increasing number of modern and ancient genomes from the area has been published by the international research community. This genomic perspective started unveiling the relevance of Italy to understand the post-Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) re-peopling of Europe, the earlier phase of the Neolithic westward migrations, and its linking role between Eastern and Western Mediterranean areas after the Iron Age. However many open questions are still waiting for more data to be addressed in full. With this review, we summarize the current knowledge emerging from the available ancient Italian individuals and, by re-analysing them all at once, we try to shed light on the avenues future research in the area should cover. In particular, open questions concern i) the fate of pre-Villabruna Europeans and to what extent their genomic components were absorbed by the post-LGM hunter-gatherers; ii) the role of Sicily and Sardinia before LGM; iii) to what degree the documented genetic structure within the Early Neolithic settlers can be described as two separate migrations; iv) what are the population events behind the marked presence of an Iranian Neolithic-like component in Bronze Age and Iron Age Italian and Southern European samples.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0049.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: Covid-19; epidemic in Italy; statistical forecast
Online: 6 April 2020 (11:28:31 CEST)
We statistically investigate the Coronavirus Disease 19 (hereinafter Covid-19) epidemics, which is particularly invasive in Italy. We show that the high apparent mortality (or Case Fatality Ratio, CFR) observed in Italy, as compared with other countries, is likely biased by a strong underestimation of infected cases. To give a more realistic estimate of the mortality of Covid-19, we use the most recent estimates of the IFR (Infection Fatality Ratio) of epidemic, based on the minimum observed CFR, and furthermore analyse data obtained from the ship Diamond Princess, a good representation of a ‘laboratory’ case-study from an isolated system in which all the people have been tested. From such analyses we derive more realistic estimates of the real extension of the infection, as well as more accurate indicators of how fast the infection propagates. We then point out from the various explanations proposed, the dominant factors causing such an abnormal seriousness of the disease in Italy. Finally, we use the deceased data, the only ones estimated to be reliable enough, to predict the total number of infected people and the interval of time when the infection in Italy could stop.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0130.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: vegetable extract; seaweed extract; agrosystems; resilience; Apulia (Italy)
Online: 9 March 2022 (09:53:25 CET)
To meet the United Nations sustainable development goals (UN-SDGs) and the European Green Deal, plant biostimulants have become a necessity in agriculture. In particular, seaweed-based biostimulants have received a greater acceptance for their several benefits in crop growth and yield. This study evaluates the effects foliar applications based on vegetables and brown algae extract (Ascophyllum nodosum (L.) Le Jol., on grapes and olive yield in two field experiments in the Apulia region known for its modern agricultural sector. In particular, grape-growing and olive production. At harvest, the yield performances were determined. The results highlighted that the crop responses differed in grape and olive orchards. The biostimulant application determined significant increases in bunch development (+ 9.5%) and bunch weight (+10%) compared to untreated control. In the olive orchard, the yield was not significantly influenced by biostimulant application, whereas we observed quality improvement in olive oil in treated plants compared with the control. To better understand the mechanisms behind this difference, the research concludes by suggesting pursuing in-depth studies and high scientific and technical proficiency to determine and optimise the rates and timing of applications.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0089.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: agrobiodiversity; vegetables; plant genetic resources; Italy; safeguarding; landraces
Online: 4 May 2018 (09:34:09 CEST)
The study attempts, above all, to provide a summary, with a strictly scientific basis, about the strategies of conservation of autochthonous agrobiodiversity followed in Italy. A special focus is dedicated on vegetables and, therefore, could represent a contribution to improve the national strategy for the safeguarding of its agrobiodiversity in general. The paper offers also an outlook on the most critical factors of the ex situ conservation and some actions which need to be taken. Some examples of ‘novel’ recovered neglected crops are also given. Finally a case study is proposed: ‘Mugnolicchio’, a neglected race of Brassica oleracea L., cultivated in Altamura (Ba) in southern Italy. ‘Mugnolicchio’ might be considered as an early step in the evolution of broccoli (B. oleracea L. var. italica Plenck) like ‘Mugnoli’ another neglected race described from Salento (Apulia).
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201803.0218.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Geology Keywords: risk perception; geo-hydrological risk; education; Southern Italy
Online: 26 March 2018 (14:17:57 CEST)
Climate change is increasing the occurrence of disastrous events in the world, but several disparities in population vulnerability are being registered. One of the causes of these variances is different public risk perception also due to the degree of education and knowledge of the population. In this study, some of the results obtained in a risk perception survey are presented. The survey was carried out in an area of Calabria (Southern Italy) hit by geo-hydrological events that have occurred in recent years with damage to roads, tourism facilities and private houses. A statistical interpretation of the results highlights the importance of education and knowledge to risk perception on the part of the population investigated.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0271.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Econometrics & Statistics Keywords: smart regions; social capital; ICT; neural network; regional performance; Italy
Online: 19 October 2021 (11:46:03 CEST)
The present study aims to examine the role the social and digital infrastructures might have during the building process of the Smart Regions in the Italian context. Within this framework, it is possible to identify some essential research questions, such as why the same regions are growing faster than the other and which type of effects could be generated from the different connectivity between the regions. Since the Smart Region concept is still composed of technical reports, pilot projects and experiences from a limited number of cities on the international stage, this work it is tried to use a new approach, applying either a neuronal model, the Self-Organizing Maps, and the multivariate regression approach, to extrapolate the existence of possible future conditions for the rising of Smart Regions in Italy, studying the evolution of the used database during the period 2005 – 2016. From the analysis what emerged is that the only bridging social capital dimension, empirically speaking, feed the regional innovation growth because the structure of social relationship facilitates interactions across social, political and economic agents; but there are institutional deficits, most pronounced in Italy and other European countries.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0078.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: Urban planning Italy; Governance 3.0; New Digital Platforms; Sentiment Analysis
Online: 6 May 2021 (12:27:35 CEST)
Current acceleration in digital innovations, unexpected challenges in our social interactions, acceleration to virtualization, limitation in our physical spaces, and unpredictable changes in our Old lifestyles - as originated from the COVID-19 global pandemic 2020 - continue to provide us with a framework, rapidly updating under our eyes, of the modifications our world is undergoing by pursuing into a New “digital age”. Or, as many scholars say nowadays, into the New Normal! These are shared and deep changes that concretely stress their effects on how ideally a city should function. Forcing us to reflect on the capability to achieve shared choices and visions for the future by taking vantage from both the New digital platforms and New suddenly opened paths. In the pages of this article authors, through different but shared viewpoints, propose an answer to the topic of "Governance 3.0", addressing the attempt of a radical change of those paradigms, now consolidated, within which the spatial dimensions, in which we live and act, are shaped. Also analyzing the relationship between Technocracy and Democracy as defined by Khanna, it is argued that it is possible to realize new forecasts and acquire a more democratic and participatory (inclusive) dimension of Governance, also thanks to new digital technologies, by exploring the general unconscious "feeling" of people, through anonymous data collection and without any direct or indirect interference with it. The analysis of the "Sentiment", already developed in other fields but easily exportable within the urban discipline, can be considered as the beginning of hybrid practices where digital and analogic find a compromise to make the "Urbs" more attractive and inclusive, while the "Civitas", connected to the Internet, can contribute to the optimization of services, of the "Polis" and a new social/spatial reorganization.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0163.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Other Keywords: Carbonate aquifer; groundwater modelling; multilayer aquifer; MODFLOW-NWT formulation; Central Italy
Online: 11 July 2022 (14:19:53 CEST)
This paper concerns about a stepwise modelling procedure for groundwater flow simulation in a complex carbonate, folded and faulted, multilayer aquifer, in the Apennine chain in Central Ita-ly, which constitutes a source of good quality water for human consumption. A perennial river acts as the main natural drain for groundwater while sustaining valuable water related ecosys-tems. The spatial distribution of recharge was estimated using the Thornthwaite-Mather method on 60 years of climate data. The system was conceptualized as three main aquifers separated by two locally discontinuous aquitards. Three numerical models were implemented by gradually adding complexity to the model grid: single layer (2D), three layers (Quasi-3D), and five layers (Fully-3D), using an equivalent porous medium approach, in order to find the best solution with a parsimonious model setting. To overcome dry-cell problems in the Fully-3D model, the New-ton-Raphson formulation for MODFLOW-2005 was invoked. Calibration results show that a Fully-3D model was required to match the observed distribution of aquifer outflow to the river baseflow. The numerical model demonstrated the major impact of folded and faulted geological structures on controlling the flow dynamics in terms of flow direction, water heads and spatial distribution of the outflows to the river and springs.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: Covid-19 in Italy; summer mitigation; autumn sharp worsening of epidemics
Online: 3 November 2020 (11:57:06 CET)
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was particularly invasive in Italy during the period between March and late April 2020 then decreased in both in the number of infections and in the seriousness of the illness throughout the summer of 2020. In this discussion, we measure the severity of the disease by the ratio of Intensive Care Units (ICU) spaces occupied by COVID-19 patients and the number of Active Cases (AC) each month from April to October 2020. We also use the ratio of the number of Deaths (D) to the number of Active Cases. What clearly emerges, from rigorous statistical analysis, is a progressive decrease in both ratios until August, indicating progressive mitigation of the disease. This is particularly evident when comparing March-April with July-August; during the summer period the two ratios became roughly 18 times lower. We test such sharp decreases against possible bias in counting active cases and we confirm their statistical significance. We then interpret such evidence in terms of the well-known seasonality of the human immune system and the virus-inactivating effect of stronger UV rays in the summer. Both ratios, however, increased again in October as ICU/AC began to increase in September 2020. These ratios and the exponential growth of infections in October indicate that the virus - if not contained by strict measures - will lead to unsustainable challenges for the Italian health system in the winter of 2020-2021 .
Subject: Earth Sciences, Geology Keywords: travertine; terrestrial thermal springs; Central Italy; microbial mats; EPS-mediated mineralization
Online: 30 July 2020 (10:55:30 CEST)
The study of hydrothermal travertines contributes to the understanding of the interaction between physico-chemical processes and the role played by microbial mats and biofilms in influencing carbonate precipitation. Three active travertine sites were investigated in Central Italy to identify the types of carbonate precipitates and the associated microbial mats at varying physico-chemical parameters. Carbonate precipitated fabrics at the decimetre- to millimetre-scale and microbial mats vary with decreasing water temperature: a) at high temperature (55-44°C) calcite or aragonite crystals precipitate on microbial mats of sulphide oxidizing, sulphate reducing and anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria forming filamentous streamer fabrics, b) at intermediate temperature (44-40°C), rafts, coated gas bubbles and dendrites are associated with Spirulina cyanobacteria and other filamentous and rod-shaped cyanobacteria, c) low temperature (34-33°C) laminated crusts and oncoids in a terraced slope system are associated with diverse Oscillatoriales and Nostocales filamentous cyanobacteria, sparse Spirulina and diatoms. At the microscale, carbonate precipitates are similar in the three sites consisting of prismatic calcite (40-100 µm long, 20-40 µm wide) or acicular aragonite crystals organized in radial spherulites, overlying or embedded within biofilm EPS (Extracellular Polymeric Substances). Microsparite and sparite crystal size decreases with decreasing temperature and clotted peloidal micrite dominates at temperatures < 40°C, also encrusting filamentous microbes. Carbonates are associated with gypsum and Ca-phosphate crystals; EPS elemental composition is enriched in Si, Al, Mg, Ca, P, S and authigenic aluminium-silicates form aggregates on EPS. This study confirms that microbial communities in hydrothermal travertine settings vary as a function of temperature. Carbonate precipitate types at the microscale do not vary considerably, despite different microbial communities suggesting that travertine precipitation, driven by CO2 degassing, is influenced by biofilm EPS acting as template for crystal nucleation (EPS-mediated mineralization) and affecting the fabric types, independently from specific microbial metabolism.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0095.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: COVID-19; agriculture; food industry; applied research; technology transfer; sustainability; Italy
Online: 6 July 2020 (04:13:40 CEST)
The recent outbreak of a new Coronavirus has developed into a global pandemic with about 10,5 million reported cases and over 500,000 deaths worldwide. Our prospective paper reports an updated analysis of the impact that this pandemic had on the Italian agri-food sector during the national lockdown and discusses why and how this unprecedented economic crisis could be a turning point to deal with the overall sustainability of food and agricultural systems in the frame of the forthcoming European Green Deal. Its introductory part includes a wide-ranging examination of the first quarter of pandemic emergency, with a specific focus on the primary production, to be understood as agriculture (i.e. crops and livestock, and their food products), fisheries and forestry. The effect on the typical food and wine exports, and the local environment tourism segments is also taken into account in this analysis, because of their old and deep roots into the cultural and historical heritage of the country. The subsequent part of the paper is centered on strategic lines and research networks for an efficient socio-economic and territorial restart, and a faster transition to sustainability in the frame of a circular bio-economy. Particular emphasis is given to the urgent need of investments in research and development concerning agriculture, in terms of not only a fruitful penetration of the agro-tech for a next-generation agri-food era, but also a deeper attention to the natural and environmental resources, including forestry. As for the rest of Europe, Italy demands actions to expand knowledge and strengthen research applied to technology transfer for innovation activities aimed at providing solutions for a climate neutral and resilient society, in reference to primary production to ensure food security and nutrition quality. Our expectation is that science and culture return to play a central role in national society, as their main actors are capable of making a pivotal contribution to renew and restart the whole primary sector and agri-food industry, addressing also social and environmental issues, and so accelerating the transition to sustainability.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201710.0170.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Geoinformatics Keywords: tree counting, olive trees, Xylella fastidiosa, Puglia, Italy, algorithms, image processing
Online: 27 October 2017 (12:30:05 CEST)
Olive trees have been of economic and cultural value since pre-Roman times, and continue to dominate landscapes and agriculture in many mediterranean regions. Recent mass losses of olive trees in Southern Italy due to an exotic plant pathogen highlight the need for methods that to monitor the olive trees in a landscape or region operationally. Here, we develop a method for counting olive trees from aerial photographs and test it in areas with a high diversity of olive tree ages, sizes, and shapes. This heterogeneity complicates tree counting as centennial trees often have crowns that are split into multiple segments, resembling multiple crowns, while nearby crowns often form a semi-closed canopy comprising multiple trees. Comparisons with reference counts in two 20 ha sites and over three different years indicate the automated counts tend to be reasonably accurate (median error 13%, n = 6), but heavily influenced by a few olive orchards with particularly high planting densities and a relatively closed canopy in which distinguishing individual trees is challenging. Overall, the algorithm estimated tree densities well (counting 82 to 109 trees/ha versus 87 to 104 trees/ha in the reference counts), indicating the method is suitable to track the number of olive trees over large areas.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0144.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: phylodynamic analyses; SARS-CoV2 circulation in Italy; molecular tracing; Whole Genome Sequencing
Online: 8 July 2020 (11:00:19 CEST)
The aim of this study is the characterization and genomic tracing by phylogenetic analyses of 59 new SARS-CoV-2 Italian isolates obtained from patients attending clinical centres in North and Central Italy until the end of April 2020. All but one of the newly characterized genomes belonged to the lineage B.1, the most frequently identified in European countries, including Italy. Only a single sequence was found to belong to lineage B. A mean of 6 nucleotide substitutions per viral genome was observed, without significant differences between synonymous and non-synonymous mutations, indicating genetic drift as a major source for virus evolution. tMRCA estimation confirmed the probable origin of the epidemic between the end of January and the beginning of February with a rapid increase in the number of infections between the end of February and mid-March. Since early February, an effective reproduction number (Re) greater than 1 was estimated, which then increased reaching the peak of 2.3 in early March, confirming the circulation of the virus before the first COVID-19 cases were documented. Continuous use of state-of-the-art methods for molecular surveillance is warranted to trace virus circulation and evolution and inform effective prevention and containment of future SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0073.v2
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Numerical Analysis & Optimization Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; SEIR modeling; Italy; stochastic modeling; swarm intelligence; Google COVID 19 Community Mobility Reports
Online: 5 May 2020 (16:10:48 CEST)
We applied a generalized SEIR epidemiological model to the recent SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in the world, with a focus on Italy and its Lombardia, Piemonte, and Veneto regions. We focus on the application of a stochastic approach in fitting the model numerous parameters using a Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) solver, to improve the reliability of predictions in the medium term (30 days). We analyze the official data and the predicted evolution of the epidemic in the Italian regions, and we compare the results with data and predictions of Spain and South Korea. We link the model equations to the changes in people’s mobility, with reference to Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports. We discuss the effectiveness of policies taken by different regions and countries and how they have an impact on past and future infection scenarios.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201911.0231.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: solar uv radiation; Italy; Europe; ozone; aerosols; clouds; omi; dwd uv forecast
Online: 19 November 2019 (10:45:25 CET)
Review of the existing bibliography shows that the direction and magnitude of the long-term trends of UV irradiance, and their main drivers, vary significantly throughout Europe. Analysis of total ozone and spectral UV data recorded at four European stations during 1996 – 2017 reveals that long-term changes in UV are mainly driven by changes in aerosols, cloudiness, and surface albedo, while changes in total ozone play a less significant role. The variability of UV irradiance is large throughout Italy due to the complex topography and large latitudinal extension of the country. Analysis of the spectral UV records of the urban site of Rome, and the alpine site of Aosta reveals that differences between the two sites follow the annual cycle of the differences in cloudiness and surface albedo. Comparisons between the noon UV index measured at the ground at the same stations and the corresponding estimates from the DWD forecast model and OMI/Aura observations reveal differences of up to 6 units between individual measurements, which are likely due to the different spatial resolution of the different datasets, and average differences of 0.5 – 1 unit, possibly related to the use of climatological surface albedo and aerosol optical properties in the retrieval algorithms.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0363.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: Public real estate; disused properties; divestment; urban walkability; urban accessibility; Cagliari; Sardinia; Italy.
Online: 15 December 2020 (09:51:12 CET)
Urban accessibility represents one of the great challenges of the contemporary city, which is required to adopt sustainable development models in line with the UN Agenda 2030 objectives, recently confirmed by the health emergency. Urban accessibility and walkability are topics closely related to those aiming at a livable, healthy and inclusive city, based on a system of high-quality public spaces and on a network of services and infrastructures. However, these principles collide with the fragmentation of many urban contexts, built following vehicular accessibility needs. Within this framework, the city of Cagliari represents an interesting case study as it is affected by the disposal of public properties which appear as “enclaves” in the historic urban fabric. This research aims to evaluate if and in which terms the abandoned assets can facilitate the development of the 15-minutes city, as a city reducing the need to move over a certain time and space and therefore granting a more equal access to urban services to a wide range of citizens. This is done by proposing indexes defined as porosity, crossing and attractiveness, which constitute a combined index to improve the pedestrian accessibility in the “central places” of the contemporary city, where the walkability can also become a possible “free choice” for a new healthy lifestyle. These indexes were calculated for the most significant large disused public buildings in the historic center to guide future scenarios towards a 15 minutes city.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201912.0210.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: smart dashboard; smart governance; slow tourism; Santa Barbara Walk; Sulcis - Iglesiente; Sardinia; Italy
Online: 16 December 2019 (07:11:11 CET)
Information and communication technologies play an increasingly important role in the process of acquiring knowledge from a territory and managing it at different scales. ICTs allow a rapid diffusion of data not only through institutional channels but also through social networks where the smart community share experiences and perceptions. In this sense, ICTs become strategic to support the promotion of sustainable tourism development of territories. An important tool to implement it, can be a circular smart dashboard, a decision support system in which the digital data are organized and processed to produce an information output, to be used, after the evaluation by the decision makers, as a new input for the system. The present paper deals with a wider research the authors are involved in, related to the reconversion and valorization of a former mining area towards slow tourism, as the Santa Barbara Walk (SBW), an ancient mining route in the Sulcis Iglesiente area (Sardinia, Italy) . In particular, we here focus on the design proposal of a dashboard, capable of organizing information concerning the main features of the walk, in order to facilitate a shared governance for an effective tourism promotion. The paper is based on a thorough recognition of the main characteristics of the Walk, both the material ones and the digital, immaterial ones. The SBW represents in fact a network connecting the main points of interest along the Walk. On the contrary, its digital network – consisting of intangible infrastructure and flows - is however fragmented in terms of policies and contents Also a state of disorganization in slow tourism promotion activities can be observed. The goal of this paper is to present and analysis of the area, and to propose an evaluation and planning tool as the design of a circular dashboard of the SBW.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0075.v1
Subject: Keywords: Covid-19; Italy; Po-Valley; NOx; Pollution; Particles; Land Take; Spatial Diffusion Processes; LISA.
Online: 5 May 2020 (12:33:07 CEST)
The Covid-19 has hit Italy in February 2020 after its outbreak in China at the beginning of January. But why Italy first among Western countries? What are the conditions that made Italy more vulnerable and the first target of such disease? What characteristics and what diffusion patterns could be highlighted and hypothesized, from the outbreak to the end of March 2020, after containment measures - including a national lock down – were introduced? In this paper we try to provide some answers to these questions, analyzing the issue from the medical, geographical and planning points of view. In particular, we started from a hypothesis of very similar economic, geographical, climatic and environmental conditions of the areas of Wuhan – in Hubei Province in China, the outbreak of the epidemics – and the Po Valley area – in Italy – where most cases and deaths were registered. Adopting an ecological approach, we compared the spatial distribution and pattern of Covid-19-related mortality in Italy with several geographical, environmental and socio-economic variables at Provincial level, analyzing them by means of spatial analytical techniques as LISA – Local Indicators of Spatial Association. Possible evidence relating Covid-19 cases and Nitrogen-related pollutants and land take arise, particularly in the Po Valley area.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0065.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: COVID-19; case fatality rate; Italy; testing; health care system; demographics; comorbidites; epidemiological trends
Online: 4 May 2020 (18:38:16 CEST)
There is much discussion among clinicians, epidemiologists, and public health experts about why case fatality rate from COVID-19 in Italy (at 13.3% as of April 20, 2020, versus a global case fatality rate of 6.9%) is considerably higher than estimates from other countries (especially China, South Korea, and Germany). In this article, we propose several potential explanations for these differences. We suggest that Italy’s overall and relative case fatality rate, as reported by public health authorities, is likely to be inflated by such factors as heterogeneous reporting of coronavirus-related fatalities across countries and the iceberg effect of under-testing, yielding a distorted view of the global severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also acknowledge that deaths from COVID-19 in Italy are still likely to be higher than in other equally affected nations due to its unique demographic and socio-economic profile. Lastly, we discuss the important role of the stress imparted by the epidemic on the Italian healthcare system, which weakened its capacity to adequately respond to the sudden influx of COVID-19 patients in the most affected areas of the country, especially in the Lombardy region.
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0349.v1
Subject: Keywords: Novel Coronavirus; respiratory distress; Favipiravir; statistics; correlation; beta thalassemia; immunisation; Italy; Sardinia; regression; heme
Online: 19 April 2020 (13:48:56 CEST)
The novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) is a contagious acute respiratory infectious disease whose causative agent has been demonstrated to be a novel virus of the coronavirus family, SARSCoV-2. A recent pre-print study has showed a heme attack on the 1-beta chain of hemoglobin by COVID19. Beta-thalassemia results of a default in the hemoglobin beta- chain synthesis. 1,5% global population are heterozygotes for this disease. In this study, by a multiple linear regression, we have analyzed the evolution of COVID-19 infection in three Italian regions (Puglia, Sardinia, Sicilia) with different beta-thalassemic prevalences, in order to search a link. The results have showed that betathalassemic heterozygote population prevalence is correlated to immunity against COVID-19, by a regression. This paper is only for academic discussion, the hypotheses and conclusions needs to be confirmed by further research .
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0667.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: COVID-19; air quality; nitrogen oxides; ozone; aerosol; source apportionment; aerosol profiles; models; Alps; Italy
Online: 28 June 2021 (14:37:17 CEST)
The effect of COVID-19 confinement regulations on air quality in the northwestern Alps is here assessed based on measurements at five valley sites in different environmental contexts. Surface concentrations of nitrogen oxides, ozone, particle matter, together with size, chemical, and optical (light absorption) aerosol properties, complemented by observations along the vertical column are considered. The 2020 concentration anomalies relative to previous years’ average are compared with the output of a machine learning algorithm accounting for weather effects and a chemical transport model, their difference being within 10–20 %. Even in the relatively pristine environment of the Alps, the «lockdown effect» is well discernible, both in the early confinement phase and in late 2020, especially in NOx concentrations (NO decreasing by >80 % and NO2 by >50 %). While ozone shows little variation, secondary aerosols increase due to enhanced transport from the neighbouring Po basin and coarse particles decrease due to missing resuspension by traffic and, in the city, to the shutdown of a steel mill. The NO2 vertical column density decreases by >20 %, whereas the aerosol profile is mainly influenced by large-scale dynamics, except a shallow layer about 500 m thick possibly sensitive to curtailed surface emissions.
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: Smart City; Urban planning Italy; Governance 3.0; New Digital Platforms; Sentiment Analysis; Pandemic Urban Effects
Online: 2 March 2021 (09:41:22 CET)
Current acceleration in digital innovations, the unexpected challenges in our social interactions, open access to virtualization, huge limitation in our physical spaces, and unpredictable changes in our old lifestyles - as originated from the COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020 - continue to provide us with a framework, rapidly updating under our eyes, of the modifications our world is undergoing by pursuing into the “new digital age”. Or, as many scholars say nowadays, into the new normal! These are shared and deep changes that, regardless of their permanence or temporariness in the time, concretely stress, ever more greatly, their “own” effects on how ideally a city should function. Forcing us to reflect on the real ability to achieve choices and visions for the future by taking vantage from the new digital platforms. In the pages of this article authors, through different eyes but sharing an early response to the matter of new Governance, explore the theme of a radical change of those already consolidated paradigms and, therefore, of the innovations that are transforming the way we understand our society and its technologic advancements, economics, and culture, as defined through dimensions of time and space. This article identiﬁes a methodologic vision for acquiring a more democratic and participatory (inclusive) dimension in the newest conﬁguration of contemporary cities, the new smart city, and in the possible innovations in reading the common sentiments and wishes through the new digitalized world. The analysis investigates how ICT is altering the meanings/ideas of “urban planning”, driving us toward a more effective “governance” through a citizen-centred digital approach. Indeed, city governance's success must be measured based on the “listening capacity” of the inhabitants and the facilities that we are capable to provide to citizens. “Sentiment Analysis” tool is tested as a useful tool to achieve these aims.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0069.v1
Subject: Engineering, Other Keywords: fire monitoring; Sentinel-2; time series; Italy wildfires; active fire detection; pre-fire analysis; burned area mapping
Online: 3 September 2020 (15:40:36 CEST)
Forest fires are part of a set of natural disasters that have always affected regions of the world typically characterized by a tropical climate with long periods of drought. However, due to climate change in recent years, other regions of our planet have also been affected by this phenomenon, never seen before. One of them is certainly the Italian peninsula, and especially the regions of southern Italy. For this reason, the scientific community, as well as remote sensing one, is highly concerned in developing reliable techniques to provide useful support to the competent authorities. In particular, three specific tasks have been carried out in this work: (i) fire risk prevention, (ii) active fire detection, and (iii) post-fire area assessment. To accomplish these analyses, the capability of a set of spectral indices, derived from spaceborne remote sensing (RS) data, is assessed to monitor the forest fires. The spectral indices are obtained from Sentinel-2 multispectral images of the European Space Agency (ESA), which are free of charge and openly accessible. Moreover, the twin Sentinel-2 sensors allow to overcome some restrictions on time delivery and observation repeat time. The performance of the proposed analyses were assessed experimentally to monitor the forest fires occurred in two specific study areas during the summer of 2017: the volcano Vesuvius, near Naples, and the Lattari mountains, near Sorrento (both in Campania, Italy).
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201710.0068.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: alluvial aquifer; GPS survey; hydrological time-series; autocorrelation; cross-correlation; spectral analysis; mono-fractal analysis; central Italy
Online: 11 October 2017 (11:54:07 CEST)
In this research, univariate and bivariate statistical methods were applied to rainfall, river and piezometric level datasets belonging to 24 years long time series (1986-2009). These methods, that often are used to understand the effects of precipitation on rivers and karstic springs discharge, have been used to assess, piezometric level response to rainfall and river level fluctuations in a porous aquifer. A rain gauge, a river level gauge and three wells, located in Central Italy along the lower Pescara river valley in correspondence of its important alluvial aquifer, provided the data. The statistical analysis has been used within a known hydrogeological framework, which has been refined by mean of a photo-interpretation and a GPS survey. Water-groundwater relationships were identified following the autocorrelation and cross-correlation analyses; the spectral analysis and mono-fractal features of time series were assessed, in order to provide information on multy-year variability, data distributions, their fractal dimension and the distribution return time within the historical time series. The statistical-mathematical results were interpreted through field work that identified distinct groundwater flowpaths within the aquifer and enabled the implementation of a conceptual model, improving the knowledge on water resources management tools.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0800.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting Keywords: organizational learning; circular economy; small and medium enterprises (SMEs); business model; supply chain; construction; Italy; Barrier and enabler
Online: 31 December 2020 (12:40:30 CET)
To contribute to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sustainable transition into the circular economy, the study proposes the activation of organizational learning (OL) processes – denoted here as multi-level knowledge creation, transfer, and retention processes – as a key phase in introducing circular business models (CBMs) at SME and supply chain (SC) level. The research employs a mixed-method approach, using the focus group methodology to identify contextual elements impacting on CBM-related OL processes, and a survey-based evaluation to single out the most frequently used OL processes inside Italian construction SMEs. As main result, a CBM-oriented OL multi-level model offers a fine-grained understanding of contextual elements acting mutually as barriers and drivers for OL processes, as possible OL dynamics among them. The multi-level culture construct – composed of external stakeholders’, SC stakeholders’, and organizational culture – identify the key element to activate CBM-oriented OL processes. Main implications are related to the identification of cultural, structural, regulatory, and process contextual elements across the external, SC, and organizational levels, and their interrelation with applicable intraorganizational and interorganizational learning processes. The proposed model would contribute to an improved implementation of transitioning into the circular economy utilizing sustainable business models in the construction SMEs.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201703.0073.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: gaseous elemental mercury; hg-mining areas; abbadia san salvatore; central italy; total and leached mercury; building material; remediation
Online: 14 March 2017 (07:57:35 CET)
Mercury has a strong environmental impact since both its organic and inorganic forms are toxic and it represents a pollutant of global concern. Liquid Hg is highly volatile and it can be released during natural and anthropogenic processes in the hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere. In this study the distribution of Gaseous Elemental Mercury (GEM) and the total and leached mercury concentrations on paints, plasters, roof tiles, concretes, metals, dust and wood structures were determined in the main buildings and structures of the former Hg-mining area of Abbadia San Salvatore (Siena, Central Italy). The mining complex (divided into 7 units) covers a surface of about 65 ha and contains mining structures and managers and workers buildings. In this work, nine surveys of GEM measurements were carried out from July 2011 to August 2015 for the buildings and structures located in the units 2, 3 and 6. Moreover, detailed measurements were performed in February, April, July, September and December 2016 in the edifices and mining structures of Unit 6. GEM concentrations showed a strong variability in terms of space and time mostly depending on the distance from the building hosting driers, furnaces and condensers and ambient temperature, respectively. In the Unit 2 surveys carried out in the hotter period (from June to September) showed GEM concentrations up to 27,500 ng m−3, while in the Unit 6 they were on average much higher and occasionally they saturated the GEM measurement device (>50,000 ng m−3). Concentrations of total (in mg kg−1) and leached (in μg L−1) mercury measured in different building materials (up to 46,580 mg kg−1 and 4,470 mg L−1 for total and leached mercury, respectively) showed for the same type of material highly variable values in dependence on the edifice or mining structure from which they were collected. The results obtained in this study are of relevant interest for the operational cleanings to be carried out during the reclamation activities.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0054.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: Eurasian otter; Lutra lutra; Italian population; otter; Italy; Pollino; river; mustelid; Lao river; Pollino National Park; Mercure-Lao River
Online: 3 July 2019 (09:13:28 CEST)
Here we report recent evidence of the presence of Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in the Mercure-Lao River valley, an area of great ecological interest situated in South Italy for which the last otter reports referred to spraints collected in 2002. This work contains information and a selection of photographs of otter footprints and spraints found from October 2005 to January 2019, and photographs of both a cub and an adult otter from the Mercure-Lao River area.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201705.0186.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: Air pollution; coal-fired thermal power plant; oil thermal power plant; geocoded; lung cancer; bladder cancer; North-eastern Italy
Online: 20 June 2017 (08:50:26 CEST)
This study investigated the risk of lung and bladder cancers in people residing in proximity of a coal-oil-fired thermal power plant in an area of north-eastern Italy, covered by a population-based cancer registry. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) by sex, age, and histology were computed according to tertiles of residential exposure to benzene, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particular matter, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) among 1076 incident cases of lung and 650 cases of bladder cancers. In men of all ages and in women under 75 years of age, no significant associations were observed. Conversely, in women aged >75 years significantly increased risks of lung and bladder cancers were related to high exposure to benzene (IRR for highest vs. lowest tertile: 2.00 for lung cancer and 1.94 for bladder cancer) and NO2 (IRR: 1.72 for lung cancer; and 1.94 for bladder cancer). In these women, a 1.71-fold higher risk of lung cancer was also related to a high exposure to SO2. The findings of this descriptive study indicated that air pollution may have a role with regard to the risk of lung and bladder cancers, limited to women aged ≥ 75 years. Such increased risk warrants further analytical investigations.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0198.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: epidemiological history of HCV-2; HCV-2 subtypes; evolutionary demography of HCV-2; phylodynamics of HCV-2 in Italy and Albania; HCV-2 Re estimation
Online: 11 January 2021 (13:10:30 CET)
Newly characterising 245 Italian and Albanian HCV-2 NS5B sequences collected between 2001 and 2016 was used to reconstruct the origin and dispersion pathways of HCV-2c. The tree of a subset of these sequences aligned with 247 publicly available sequences was reconstructed in spatio-temporal scale using the Bayesian approach, and the effective replication number (Re) was estimated using the birth-death model. Our findings show that HCV-2c was the most prevalent subtype in Italy and Albania, and that GT2 originated in Guinea Bissau in the XVI century and spread to Europe in the XX century. The HCV-2c subtype had two internal nodes respectively dating back to the 1930s and 1950s having as most probable locations Ghana and Italy, respectively. Phylodynamic analysis revealed an exponential increase in the effective number of infections and Re in both Italy between the 1950s and 1980s, and Albania between the 1990s and the early 2000s. It seems very likely that HCV-2c reached Italy from Africa at the time of the second Italian colonisation (1936-1941), but did not reach Albania until the period of dramatic migration to Italy in the 1990s.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0383.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: Calabria; Italy; neurodegenerative diseases; Alzheimer’s disease; Frontotemporal dementia; Par-kinson’s disease; Niemann Pick type C disease; Spino-cerebellar ataxia; Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease; Gerstmann Straussler Scheincker disease
Online: 22 August 2022 (11:23:49 CEST)
Although originally multi-ethnic in its structure, nowadays the Calabria region of southern Italy represents an area with a low genetic heterogeneity and a high level of consanguinity that allows rare mutations to be maintained due to the founder effect. A complex research methodology ranging from clinical activity to genealogical reconstruction of families/populations along the centuries, creation of databases, and molecular/genetic research, has been modelled on the characteristics of the Calabrian population for more than three decades. This methodology allows to the identification of several novel genetic mutations or variants associated with neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, in this population it has been reported a higher prevalence of several hereditary neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Niemann Pick type C disease, Spino-cerebellar ataxia, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and Gerstmann Straussler Scheincker disease. Thus, Calabria constitutes a model for the study of neurodegenerative diseases, a sort of "outdoor laboratory" useful for the advancement of knowledge in this field. Here, we summarize and discuss some results of research data supporting the view that Calabria is a genetic isolate and could represent a useful model for the study and characterization of neurodegenerative diseases.