False Alarm: Venice Under Water In ‘Few Decades’ Says IPCC Deputy Head

  • Date: 18/06/11

(ANSA) – Venice could find itself under water within a few decades if current climate trends continue, a top United Nations climatologist said on Friday.

Over the next 30 or so years rainfall in the northern Mediterranean will increase by 10-20% as a result of global warming, said Osvaldo Canziani, deputy head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Speaking at the presentation of the IPCC’s bleak new report on climate change, the Argentinian expert said that despite efforts to slow down a global rise in sea levels, the situation everywhere was “increasingly critical”.

Referring to Venice, a city built on mud islands in a lagoon at the top of the Adriatic Sea, he said: “The water of the lagoon will continue inexorably to rise. If things carry on like this, Venice is destined to disappear”.

The IPCC groups 2,500 scientists and is the top world authority on climate change. […]

ANSA News Agency, 7 April 2007


Reality Check: Venice not set to disappear underwater

New research led by an Australian government boffin says that Venice is not, in fact, set to disappear underwater in the near future as a result of global warming.

“The survival of Venice and its lagoon is seriously questioned under the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global sea level rise scenarios,” says Dr Alberto Troccoli of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). However, according to new work by Troccoli and colleagues in Italy and the UK, things are actually set to improve for the much-beloved city of canals.

The regular floods which beset Venice today – aka “Acqua Alta”, high water events, not something that residents of the tideless Mediterranean generally expect – are caused by storm surges.

“Possible future changes in storm surge occurrences critical to flooding events remain largely unexplored,” explains Troccoli. “It is important to understand how these events will evolve since a moderate to strong storm surge event is required to cause serious flooding.”

According to the doc and his colleagues’ analysis, the Acqua Alta is actually set to become a less frequent visitor to Venice as the Earth’s climate evolves through the 21st century. The famous piazza of St Mark’s will no longer be so regularly inundated.

“We found that the frequency of extreme storm surge events affecting Venice is projected to decrease by about 30 per cent by the end of the 21st century which would leave the pattern of flooding largely unaltered under 21st Century climate simulations,” says Troccoli. […]

The Register, 13 June 2011


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