The rise in the sea level will change the morphology of the Italian coasts over the next 80 years, a study found.
And up to 5,500 square kilometres of coastal plains could end up under water – meaning Italy could be completely submerged by the end of the century.
A study by the Laboratory of Climate Modelling and the journal Quaternary Science Reviews focused on four sensitive areas of the Italian peninsula which will feel the impact of rising sea levels.
The coastline near Venice could become vulnerable to the ravages of the sea
These were the North Adriatic, the Gulf of Taranto, the Gulf of Oristano and the Gulf of Cagliari.
The analysis took into account the most recent projections of sea-level rise between a minimum of 53cm and a maximum of 97cm, also including the effects due to geological and geomorphological changes.
Fabrizio Antonioli, the director of research at the Laboratory of Climate Modelling and Impact of ENEA told National Geographic Italian: “The coast is flat and there are no dunes to act as a natural barrier.
The study focused on four sensitive areas of the Italian peninsula including Cagliari
“Some areas are already close to or below the sea level.”
Experts suggest that the way to solve the issue is that governments will need to improve the efficiency of the dams to protect the coasts.
If no reinforcement measures are implemented in the near future, the cities of Aquileia Adria, Ravenna and Rovigo will be at risk of flooding while the coastline could arrive less than 10km from Ferrara.
Italy at the end of the century will be very different from the one we know now
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Climate change experts fear that by the year 2100, the maximum elevation calculated will be approximately 101 cm above the current sea level for the North Adriatic.
Furthermore, it will be 96cm for the Gulf of Cagliari, 95cm for Oristano and 92cm for the Gulf of Taranto.
The coastline near Venice could also go back 30 kilometres and the area between Trieste and Venice is one of the most vulnerable.
As scientists attempt to find solutions, it seems that even limiting green house gases will not mark change.
The sea level is still expected to increase by 0.5 metres during the twenty-first century, which could reach a meter or more if no drastic action is taken.
The Paris agreement, with the objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has been a real turning point after more than two decades of negotiations.
But if sea levels continue to rise, more than a billion people living near the coast could be forced to leave their homes and became climate migrants.
It is estimated that in Europe there are about 86 million people living within 10 km from the coast.
In Italy, as well as in the rest of the Mediterranean region, 70 percent of the population live in the coastal area.
Italian shores are also home to major business establishments and the epicentre of thriving tourist activities.
All these activities will be increasingly threatened by coastal erosion and the risk of flooding.
Coastal communities are unaware of this and therefore unprepared to face a danger that is coming and that surely will change the landscape, life and habits of the next generations.
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