70% of Venice Flooded by Highest Tide in at Least a Decade
Venice is the Mediterranean World Heritage Site currently most at risk from flooding due to sea level rise, according to a recent study, and the city even has elevated sidewalks ready in case of high tides, but Monday's waters rose higher than the emergency sidewalks.
The tide surpassed 5 feet, 3 inches, making it the highest recorded since 2008 and potentially the highest recorded since 1979, CNN reported.
The high water didn't stop tourists from wading around famous landmarks like Piazza San Marco as business owners worked to keep water from entering their shops. Videos posted to social media showed waiters serving pizza in rubber boots, waves crashing against historic buildings and a jellyfish swimming up a cobblestone street.
Runners in the Venice Marathon competed Sunday despite 'the worst conditions ever for the event."
The flooding in Venice is immediately caused by a low-pressure system that has also brought flooding, wind and rain to other parts of northern Italy. At least six people have died, and popular Roman tourist sites like the Colosseum and Roman Forum were closed, the Huffington Post reported.
Venice, however, is increasingly used to flooding because of a combination of incoming silt, climate change and methane gas drilling in the sea nearby that undermines its islands, ABC News reported. When tide levels lower to 110 centimeters (approximately 3.6 feet) on Tuesday, they will be at levels Venice sees about four times a year, CNN said.
Venice has been working on an ambitious series of flood barriers since 2003 dubbed "Project Moses." The project features retractable gates that would block the entrance to the city's lagoon when tides are high, but corruption scandals and high costs have beset the operation, which should be completed in 2022 and has already cost around $6.5 billion, the Huffington Post reported.
But an article published in YaleEnvironment360 last year pointed out that the barrier, which was first conceived after a record-breaking 1966 flood, was only designed to withstand 1 foot of sea level rise, and some scientists think we could see 2 feet by 2050.
"After that, the sea will come in from other places to the north and the south. There is nothing we can do to stop it," project spokesperson Monica Ambrosini said.
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
Sunoco's controversial Mariner East pipeline project in Pennsylvania is beginning 2019 on unstable ground, literally. A sinkhole opened in the suburban development of Lisa Drive in Chester County Sunday, exposing the old Mariner East 1 pipeline built in the 1930s.
Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.
"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"
By Marlene Cimons
Most Europeans know the great tit as an adorable, likeable yellow-and-black songbird that shows up to their feeders in the winter. But there may be one thing they don't know. That cute, fluffy bird can be a relentless killer.
The great tit's aggression can emerge in gruesome ways when it feels threatened by the pied flycatcher, a bird that spends most of the year in Africa, but migrates to Europe in the spring to breed. When flycatchers arrive at their European breeding grounds, they head for great tit territory, knowing that great tits—being year-round European residents—know the best nesting sites.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.
This week, people across the country are joining environmental leaders to speak out against the nomination of former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to lead the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As Scott Pruitt's hand-picked successor, Wheeler has continued to put polluters over people, most recently by using the last of his agency's funding before it expired in the government shutdown to announce plans to allow power plants to spew toxic mercury and other hazardous pollution into the air.