Tuesday, June 19, 2007


This is a full copy of a brief note from Random Samples, Science, 15 June 2007 (Volume 316, Number 5831, Issue of 15 June 2007).

"If you plan to see the Coliseum, Notre Dame, and other European landmarks, the new Vulnerability Atlas might help you decide which ones to visit first--before climate change ruins them. Aimed at policymakers and preservationists, the atlas roughly maps how climate change caused by global warming could harm the continent's historical monuments, statues, and buildings over the next century. Produced by Noah's Ark, a 3-year, €1.2 million project sponsored by the European Commission, the atlas marries climate modeling with research on how wood, stone, glass, and other materials are damaged by climate-influenced factors. For example, it shows where in Europe attacks by wood-destroying fungi may increase because of warmer, wetter weather.

"Cristina Sabbioni, a physicist at the Institute for Sciences of the Atmosphere and Climate in Bologna, Italy, who coordinated the project, says it's a "shame" that more attention has been paid to the impact of climate change on the skiing industry than on Europe's historical treasures. But attitudes may be changing. Later this month, UNESCO will call for research on how climate change endangers cultural heritage globally, notes May Cassar of University College London's Centre for Sustainable Heritage. "Noah's Ark just scratched the surface," she says."

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