Venice floods worsen in the off-season amid climate change

Venice – Venice was hit by the second most severe flood in history in November 2019, followed by four more exceptional tides within six weeks, shocking the Venetian and the effects of climate change. Raised concerns about getting worse.

The repeated invasion of water from the brackish lagoon into St. Mark’s Basilica this summer quietly reminds us that the threat has not receded.

“In August, this is an unprecedented month, we can only say that there were five tides over a meter. We’re talking about the quiet August,” said Saint Mark’s chief manager. A person, Carlo Alberto Teserin, told The Associated Press.

Venice’s unique terrain, built on a mountain of logs between canals, makes it particularly vulnerable to climate change. Rising sea levels are increasing the frequency of high tides flooding the Italian lagoon cities 1600 years ago. This city is also slowly sinking.


The fate of coastal cities like Venice comes to mind for climate scientists and world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference on October 31st.

According to a new study published by the European Geosciences Union, the worst scenario in Venice that sea level will rise by the end of the century is an amazing 120 centimeters (3 feet 11 inches). This is 50% higher than the worst-case global sea level rise average of 80 centimeters (2 feet 7 1/2 inches) predicted by the United Nations Scientific Committee.

The interaction of canals and architecture, natural habitats and cities of human ingenuity is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its outstanding universal value. traffic. After Italy banned cruise ships from passing through the St. Marks basin, they escaped from the list of endangered species, but the alarm bell is ringing.


St. Mark’s Basilica, the lowest point in Venice, offers a unique place to monitor the impact of rising sea levels on the city. The outer square is flooded at 80 centimeters (about 30 inches), and water passes through the narthex to the church at 88 centimeters (34.5 inches) reinforced from the previous 65 centimeters (25.5 inches).

“The situation has been getting worse since the flood in November 2019, so I’m convinced that the flood is no longer an accidental phenomenon in recent months. It’s a daily occurrence,” he said. Teserin, the honorific of Finance Minister San Marco, said. , Dating back to the 9th century.

Over the last two decades, Venice has been flooded by more than 1.1 meters. This is the official level of “Aqua alta” or “high water” caused by tides, winds and phases of the moon. Same as the last 100 years. According to city data, 163 to 166.


Exceptional floods over 140 centimeters (4 feet, 7 inches) are also accelerating. The mark has been a hit 25 times since Venice began holding such a record in 1872. Two-thirds of them have been registered in the last 20 years, one-fifth of the total from November 12th to December. 23rd, 2019.

“What’s happening now is a continuum of Venetian people who have always lived in regular floods,” said Jane Da Mosto, executive director of We Are Here Venice. “My concern is that people are really unaware that we are in a climate crisis because we live in increasingly frequent floods. We are already living it. It’s not a matter of planning to deal with in the future. You need to have a solution for today. “

Venice’s defense is entrusted to the Moses system of mobile underwater barriers. The project costs around € 6 billion and is still officially in testing after decades of cost overruns, delays and bribery scandals.


Following the devastation of the floods in 2019, the Roman government put the project under the control of the ministry, accelerating the completion of the project. Last year, we began activating the barrier when a 1.3 meter (4 ft 3 inch) flood was imminent.

Barriers have been raised 20 times since October 2020, avoiding severe flood seasons, but not from the more frequent low tides.

Temporary Commissioner Elizabetta Spitz said the health of the seafloor barriers, despite concerns that scientists and experts could defeat its usefulness within decades due to climate change. I support. The project was further postponed until 2023, with an additional € 500 million ($ 580 million) spent due to “improvements” that Spitz said would ensure long-term efficiency.


“Moses has a lifespan of 100 years, given the maintenance and intervention required to be performed,” said Spitz.

Paolo Biermo, an engineer who wrote an expert report on the project, points out that when Moses was first proposed over 30 years ago, sea-level rise was predicted to be 22 centimeters (8 1/2 inches). doing. The current worst scenario of ’80 cm.

“It keeps Moses out of the dispute,” he said.

According to current plans, Moses’ barriers to a 1.1 meter (3 ft 7 inch) flood will not be raised until the project is final approved. It leaves St. Mark exposed.

Teserin oversees the work of protecting the cathedral by installing a glass wall around its base. This will eventually prevent the water from the wetland lagoon from penetrating into the interior, depositing salt that eats up marble columns, wall cladding and stone mosaics. The project, which continues to be suspended due to high tide, was scheduled to be completed by Christmas. Now Teserin says he’s lucky if he can finish it by Easter.


Regular high tides elicit a blaze reaction from Venetian people who are accustomed to wearing rubber boots with every flood warning, and are fascinated by the golden mosaic of St. Mark and the sight of the dome reflected on the rising water surface. Delight customers. However, businesses along St. Mark’s Square are increasingly aware that they are at the zero point of the climate crisis.

“We need to help this city. It was a light to the world, but now we need the whole world to understand it,” said a marble-floor cafe with 1.05 meters (3 feet 5) of water. Speaking from behind the metal barrier that prevented it from reaching inches. ..

“Acqua alta is getting worse and completely blocking business. Venice lives thanks to craftsmen and tourism. Venice dies when tourism is gone,” she explained.


Follow all Associated Press on climate change at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-change.

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Venice floods worsen in the off-season amid climate change

Source link Venice floods worsen in the off-season amid climate change

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