Venice: Sinking city facing climate change challenges

Famed for its gondolas, waterways and bridges, the city of Venice is no longer a crown in the Italian jewel so to speak. A shadow of its former self, the city could be underwater within a century if the acceleration in global warming is not quelled and flood defences installed, according to research.

Venice, a system of islands built into a shallow lagoon, is extremely vulnerable to rising seas because the sea floor is also sinking. The Mediterranean Sea is expected to rise by up to 140 centimetres (over four feet) in the next century. The world’s oceans and seas continue to expand as a result of increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses raising the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere.

Over the last century, Venice has sunk five inches and has been prone to frequent flooding. Rising water levels is something that Venice has been battling for many years, with flooding commonplace. The Venetians call the flooding “acqua volta” and it usually happens between November and March. Every year, temporary stilted walkways are constructed on the streets so pedestrians can still get around.

But now Venice is also grappling with rising sea-levels, caused by climate change, which increases the severity. Large areas of the west coast of Italy and the North Adriatic coast could also become swamped by 2100, according to research by ENEA (the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development).

In the video below, PBS NewsHour reports on the risks of climate change and Italy’s plans to mitigate them.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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