Rising sea levels could flood cities including Venice, Rhodes, and Pisa – destroying historic buildings and monuments, according to the study of the Mediterranean.

And experts say Heritage sites – such as the Tower of London – would also be drowned by a similar rise in seal levels. If nothing is done the consequences may be disastrous – with our common heritage “being lost”, warn scientists.
The iconic nature of structures like the Leaning Tower of Pisa should be used to promote awareness of the need for combating climate change, they say.
It may also turn them into ‘must-see’ attractions before they disappear ‘Atlantis style’ – the fate said to have befallen the mythical Atlantis. The first study published in the journal Nature Communications, showed that out of 49 World Heritage sites on the Mediterranean coast, 37 are at risk from a ‘100-year flood event’.
That equates to a one percent chance in “any given year” – from now, said the researchers. All would appear on anyone’s bucket list. And 42 face the same threat of coastal erosion that could cause the priceless landmarks to topple into the ocean – rising to 46 under a worst-case scenario.
Venice and its lagoon are among those most endangered along with the world-famous Piazza del Duomo in Pisa and the Medieval City of Rhodes.

Corresponding author Dr Lena Reimann, of Kiel University in Germany, said: “UNESCO World Heritage sites (WHS) located in coastal areas are increasingly at risk from coastal hazards due to sea-level rise.”
Her team came up with a risk index based on four sea-level rise scenarios based on computer simulations and topographic data from the sites.

Over the next eight decades, flood and erosion risk may increase by 50 and 13 percent, respectively, across the region. This could be “considerably higher” on an individual level. Italy is most at risk with 13 of its sites (87 percent) under threat, followed by Croatia with six and Greece with three.

SHARE