Venice flooding and sea level: past evolution, present issues, and future projections (introduction to the special issue)

Piero Lionello, Robert J. Nicholls, Georg Umgiesser, Davide Zanchettin

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21 Citations (Scopus)
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Venice is an iconic place and a paradigm of huge historical and cultural values at risk. The frequency of the flooding of the city centre has dramatically increased in recent decades, and this threat is expected to continue to grow – and even accelerate – through this century. This special issue is a collection of three review articles addressing different and complementary aspects of the hazards causing the floods of Venice, namely (1) the relative sea level rise, (2) the occurrence of extreme water heights, and (3) the prediction of extreme water heights and floods. It emerges that the effect of compound events poses critical challenges to the forecast of floods, particularly from the perspective of effectively operating the new mobile barriers (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico – MoSE) in Venice and that the relative sea level rise is the key factor determining the future growth of the flood hazard, so that the present defence strategy is likely to become inadequate within this century under a high-emission scenario. Two strands of research are needed in the future. First, there is a need to better understand and reduce the uncertainty of the future evolution of the relative sea level and its extremes at Venice. However, this uncertainty might not be substantially reduced in the near future, reflecting the uncertain anthropogenic emissions and structural model features. Hence, complementary adaptive planning strategies appropriate for conditions of uncertainty should be explored and developed in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2633-2641
Number of pages9
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021

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