EntertainmentVenice faces a dire future as climate change accelerates flooding

Venice faces a dire future as climate change accelerates flooding

Venice will be underwater
Venice will be underwater
Images source: © @canva

20 June 2024 12:44

Venice is inevitably approaching defeat in the fight against the effects of climate crises. Scientists have calculated that this will happen sooner than we think.

Venice consists of 118 small islands in the Venetian Gulf's lagoon. It is a shallow, enclosed bay with an area of 550 square kilometres in the northern part of the Adriatic Sea, which surrounds Venice and its islands. The city is about four kilometres from the mainland and 1.5 kilometres from the open sea. Overall, it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world. However, it has been struggling with increasingly frequent flooding for decades.

Venice is becoming a thing of the past

Venice has become a symbol of the effects of global warming and the climate crisis. Most people know that the Italian city will soon be underwater if negative trends are not reversed. New research from experts from the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), who analysed data on tide level rise, shows that part of Venice will be submerged by 2150.

Scientists predict that part of St. Mark's Square, the most famous location in Venice, will be permanently covered by 70 centimetres of water. The western part of the city will finally be one of the first to sink. This area has been underwater 58 times from 2019 to 2023. Marco Anzidei, a researcher at INGV, explained, "Sea level increase, particularly if accelerated locally by subsidence, is leading to increasingly severe and widespread coastal erosion, beach retreat and marine flooding with very significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts for populations."

Movable barriers will not save Venice

Venice will not give up without a fight. MOSE, the system of movable barriers at the lagoon's entrances, is already operational and will achieve full functionality in 2025. The gates are raised during high tides, preventing water from entering the lagoon and the city. However, this "triumph of technology" is only a short-term solution.

In the 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, a rise in the average regional sea level by 2100 of 28 to 56 centimetres in the most optimistic scenario of the effects of global warming was predicted. In the pessimistic scenario, it will be 64-102 centimetres. At such a water level, the movable barriers would have to be raised so often that Venice's port industry would lose its meaning, and the lagoon itself – which is “flushed” by the tides – would become a stinking swamp.

A group of environmental scientists from the University of Padua is pushing for greater protection of the lagoon's salt marshes. These marshes are crucial for flood protection, acting as buffers protecting the city from high tides and powerful carbon dioxide absorbers.

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