Venice floods attributed to climate change

Times art critic

As coastal areas of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are just drying out from horrific flooding prompted by Hurricane Sandy, more watery disaster has struck 4,200 miles away in Italy. Following torrential rains, Venice is experiencing unusually bad flooding.

It’s the fourth time floods have exceeded norms there since 2000.

One of the world’s great artistic treasures, the low-lying city of lagoons on the Adriatic Sea experiences problems from high waters every winter. Especially around St. Mark’s Square, many of its Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance buildings are regularly flooded.

But as tides reached nearly five feet higher than normal by Monday, reports this time put 70% of Venice underwater.


International Business Times reports that Corrado Clini, Italy’s environment minister, has insisted that global climate change is to blame. Venice is in the process of erecting an elaborate system of sea walls to cope with the worsening annual flooding, but work is not scheduled for completion until 2015.

Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist and Penn State University professor, told The Times earlier this month that, for Americans, Hurricane Sandy “has galvanized attention to … the role that climate change may be playing with regard to the intensification of extreme weather.” Increasing regularity of hitherto extraordinary Venice floods might be another wake-up call.


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