Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Venice Has a Water Problem

The city of canals and gondolas is no stranger to seasonal flooding but even Venice is not immune to sea level rise.  The city is now taking the brunt of the highest tides it has seen in 50 years and climate change is said to be the cause.
The mayor of Venice is poised to declare a state of emergency after the city was hit by the highest tide in more than 50 years, with another surge expected to cause further widespread flooding and destruction on Wednesday. 
Flooding in the lagoon city reached its second-highest level ever in the wake of the aqua alta, or high waters, which reached 1.87 metres late on Tuesday night amid heavy rain, just short of the record 1.94 metres (78 in) recorded in 1966. 
More than 85% of Venice was flooded, authorities said, including the historic basilica and many of its squares and alleyways. While the water level dropped slightly on Wednesday morning, a further torrent of water, whipped up by high winds, is forecast to sweep in later in the day, reaching a level of 1.60 metres.
Compounding the city's problems is ongoing subsidence, just over 9 inches in the past century. With sea levels expected to continue rising for centuries even as historic Venice sinks, it is going to take some creative genius to save the lagoon city. A 2 metre tide would submerge 90 per cent of the city.

St Mark’s Square was submerged by more than one metre of water, while the adjacent St Mark’s Basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years – but the fourth in the last two decades. The last occasion, in November 2018, caused an estimated €2.2m (£1.9m) of damage


Anonymous said...

There was only three inches of water in St Marks Square when I was there in 1972. Plish plosh. But a torrential downpour at our campsite park across the bay from Venice one night had me floating away on a wave of water on my air bed in the middle of the night. The entire campsite was submerged to hundreds of howls of anguish that night. Still, under the late summer sun the next day and makeshift "clothes" lines between trees, everyone was dried out 12 to 18 hours later. And ready to dig in to the best tomatoes I've ever eaten, sold by wizened old ladies on the roadside outside the camping park for next to nothing.

Venice is a special case, methinks, that has worried about sea level for decades because the land upon which the buildings rest is sinking. It's not just water level rising. Even then, our party of seven was discussing the flooding of the place during our entire visit.

Hearing distraught Australians facing those wildfires outside Sydney and all around New South Wales, the complete destruction of habitat, and even some citizens wondering if the place will be habitable after the fires subside, now THAT'S chilling. It's only Spring down under, with summer to come. No rain in the forecast for months. That's climate change up close and personal. One interviewee was like the patient who insists the doc tell them the truth after tests - she wants the NSW state and federal governments to come clean on the magnitude of the problem, the actual reality. And she said the time for papering over the cracks and uttering soothing tones was just not on any more. And tears were running down her face, poor woman. Stretched almost beyond endurance.

Perhaps Scotty Morrison, a two forked-tongue devil of an Oz PM can import Jason Kenney for a "Chins-Up" tour. No climate emergency - Alberta has decreed nothing is happening, so it ain't but if it is, it's Trudeau's fault entirely. So dig your hearts out, Aussies, with those new giant coal mines for India and the existing supply to China. I know you just want wet billabongs again for at least part of the year, but digging up ever more crap coal isn't going to hasten that ideal any time soon.

Nor is steam cleaning millions of tonnes of Alberta tarsands every day going to help, no matter what shite excuse Kenney comes up with as he privatizes public services and leads Albertans to Nirvana 2020 with the old school cheers of defiance against facts and logic and Canadians.


The Mound of Sound said...

Jesus, BM, what a wonderful idea. We send Kenney Down Under in exchange for his weight in lager. Brilliant, I love it. I would definitely chip in for his air fare.

And, yes, these fires do make Australia's relentless drive to flog coal into Asia seem counter-intuitive but it really has driven their prosperity. They're now just reaping the whirlwind.

These events are harbingers of what may become IDP events in which even advanced and affluent nations will have to cope with internally displaced populations. We can only speculate how they'll meet such challenges.

Interesting times.

e.a.f. said...

You want to send Jason to Australia. Please where can I send the money for the ticket. I do expect him to stay there though. Don't want him back. perhaps he can do something useful on the fire lines and give him some practise as to what will happen in Alberta.