Principal Environmental Scientist, HR Wallingford Ltd, Oxfordshire
Research Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge
To 2005- Senior Research Associate, Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
|The Science of Saving Venice|
Time may be running out for Venice. The frequency of flooding is increasing and Venice is little better protected today than it was in November 1966, when a violent storm left the city under nearly 2 metres of floodwater. The environmental future is bleak, with continuing land subsidence, acceleration in the rate of sea level rise and possible changes in storminess in prospect. Surrounding the city is a lagoon ecosystem showing signs of severe environmental degradation.
Since the 1966 flood, Venice has received unprecedented attention from the Scientific Community both in Italy and internationally, with a view to tackling these problems. The complexity of the system and the interdisciplinary nature of the problems cannot be overstated. The scientific debate, heated at times has however highlighted the fact that scientists, although only part of the answer, are a vital voice now and for the future of Venice.
This talk outlines the evolution of Venice and its lagoon and focuses on the science of saving Venice. It offers a distillation of the current state of scientific knowledge about the nature and causes of the threat to Venice and about proposed solutions. From the large scale engineering solution - the MOSE mobile barrier planned at the inlets to hold back storm surges from the open sea, to the local works of raising walkways so evident as you meander around Venice, to the often less witnessed restoration of the lagoon and its salt marshes - the lungs of the system..
The Venice in Peril Project has been undertaken by Churchill College and the University of Cambridge in collaboration with Corila (Consortium for Coordination of Research Activities concerning the Venice Lagoon System) in Venice and culminated in the following two books:
Fletcher, C.A. and da Mosto, J with Jensen Smith, D. (2004) The Science of Saving Venice. Published by Allemandi Press for the Venice in Peril Fund (The British Committee for the Preservation of Venice). ISBN: 8842213101
Fletcher, C.A. and Spencer, T (2005) Flooding and Environmental Challenges for Venice and its Lagoon: State of Knowledge. Published by Cambridge University Press 2005. ISBN-10: 0521840465 | ISBN-13: 9780521840460)