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Old 11-16-2019, 09:07 AM
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Exclamation Venice Flooding Reveals A Real Hoax About Climate Change - Framing It As “Either/Or”

Venice Flooding Reveals A Real Hoax About Climate Change - Framing It As “Either/Or”
By: Marshall Sheperd - Forbes - 11-16-19

The flooding in Venice this past week was extraordinary. According to my Forbes colleague Eric Mack, “On Tuesday, rains helped bring the seasonal high tides known as acqua alta to near record levels, just seven centimeters short of what was seen during the historic floods of 1966.” The mayor blamed climate change as did many other people around the world. That is when the hyperventilation started. As I listened to the mayor’s comments, two things came to mind. First, mayor Luigi Brugnaro knows more about his city and its flooding tendencies than any of us sitting thousands of miles away. Second, I wasn’t listening with a bias so understood the point he was making. A combination of high tides, rainfall, and even land mass subsidence (sinking) amplifies such events. However, sea level rise associated with climate change is in the mix too. Which brings me to the point of this article. I have noticed that some people make the mistake of framing climate change as an “either/or” proposition. It is not. It’s “and.” Let me explain.

VENICE, ITALY - NOVEMBER 15: A general view of piazza San Marco of Venice during the high tide on November 15, 2019 in Venice, Italy. More than 80 percent of the city was flooded after Tuesday's high tide of 187cm, the highest level in more than 50 years, leading the government to declare a state of emergency. A second high tide on Friday meant that the iconic St. Mark's Square would remain closed, along with many shops and schools. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)GETTY IMAGES

When I first heard about the flooding, I immediately thought of one of my favorite songs by Duran Duran called Venice Drowning. However, a quick review of the lyrics does not suggest that lead singer Simon LeBon was singing about subsidence, tides, sea level rise, and rainfall. However, I certainly saw a chorus of Tweets and push back about the flooding in Venice. From my social media “sideline” I watched a strange science boxing match in which some people counterpunched at every turn with “Venice is sinking. Venice is sinking. Venice is sinking.” According to Reuters,

the city’s ground level has been gradually sinking, by an estimated one millimeter a year, owing to the soft and shifting geological terrain on which its foundations are built. That was made worse over decades by local industries around Venice pumping groundwater from the acquifer under the lagoon until they were forbidden to do so in the 1970s.
by Giselda Vagnoni, Reuters

Yes, Venice is sinking and peer review studies using satellite-based techniques confirm the trends. In a 2016 feature in the American Geophysical Union publication Eos entitled, “Global Risks and Research Priorities for Coastal Subsidence,” the authors summarized a series of scientific workshops held in New Orleans, Louisiana and Venice, Italy. A key warning from the paper was that “many coastal areas are sinking even faster than the waters are rising: Natural and human-driven subsidence rates arising from shallow processes can be one to two orders of magnitude greater than the rate of climate-driven sea level rise predicted for the remainder of the 21st century.” As clearly as this finding was stated, the authors also stated within the same paper,

Coastal lowlands, which rise less than 10 meters above sea level, are particularly vulnerable to the climate change effects forecast for the 21st century, including the threat of inundation by accelerating sea level rise and increases in severity and frequency of tropical storm surges. These threats coincide with a worldwide surge in human population in coastal areas. Coastal population centers include several megacities, whose populations exceed 10 million. Many of these coastal megacities are located on river deltas that are also major centers for agriculture, fisheries, and hydrocarbon production.

Authors of “Global Risks and Research Priorities for Coastal Subsidence” in AGU Eos


Sad isn't it. Venice - New Orleans both could be wiped out in the very near future with sea levels continuing to rise. Yes its climate change no two ways about it. And its only going to get worse - before it ever has a chance of getting better. And by the way I do have family in Italy so I'm also worried for them as well.


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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