THERE'S REALLY NO PLACE like Venice, the floating city on Italy's northeast coast, off the Adriatic Sea. In Venice, the streets are canals and the buses and taxis are boats. More than 12 million tourists from around the world come to Venice each year to ride along its canals, view its great squares and art-filled palaces, eat in its world-class restaurants, and stay in its elegant hotels. The city is one of the world's great treasures.
Yet Venice has a monstrous problem: The city is sinking slowly, but surely, into the sea. If something isn't done--and soon--there won't be any Venice to visit.
At the heart of Venice is St. Mark's Square, which surrounds the massive, five-domed Church ...view middle of the document...
Venice's sea level rose about five inches a century until 1990. From he early 1930s until the mid-1970s, city authorities pumped underground water from under the city to supply factories. That accelerated the damage, causing the city to sink about one-fifth an inch per year. In the past 50 years, more of Venice has been overtaken by the sea than in all its history. St. Mark's Square is the city's lowest point, and today high tides flood it about 90 times a year. When the high waters come, tourists scatter. City workers rush to assemble temporary walkways over the old stones, and cafe owners take their tables to higher floors and pass out high boots to customers.
Now Venice must battle the effects of global warming. Many scientists believe Earth is getting warmer due to gases released by automobiles and factories.
The increase in warmth is slowly melting the polar ice craps, raising sea levels around the world. Some scientists argue the the sea levels of all major seas could rise as much as 18 inches in this century, flooding coastal cities from North America to Asia to Africa and Europe. If those scientists are right, high tides or storms could flood Venice on a regular basis even in the next few years.
History of Flooding
Venice has dealt with floods, or acqua alta (high water), since its beginnings. Records show that major floods soaked the city in A,D....