Venice opens and shuts

Will Venice really disappear within 100 years? If nothing is done to stop the encroaching sea, then yes.

The problem that Venice faces is familiar to anyone living along the Thames estuary – the land is sinking while, thanks to global climate change, the sea is rising.

“It’s a city that lies at sea level so it’s very vulnerable to changes,” says Caroline Fletcher, an environmental chemist and the Venice research fellow at Cambridge University, who is running the conference. Without any action, she warns, the city will be uninhabitable by 2100.

Fortunately, the Italian government has marked Venice as a priority for action and is trialling one possible solution. The city is at one end of a lagoon with three openings to the Adriatic sea.

The Italian scientists are testing a mobile barrier that could move into place in these openings at high tide, thereby blocking out any surges of water during storms.
The Guardian, 18 Sep 2003