Is Venice sinking or is the ocean rising? 


Photograph of Senior Grace Metler visiting Disneyland in California by Rob Metler.

Anthony Yac, Staff Writer

The continued rise of sea water levels may lead to Venice fully submerging as soon as 2100, experts say. The city of Venice has been experiencing a continuous rise of sea water levels over the years; the water is rising at a rate of one to two millimeters per year. 

Many factors play into Venice sinking, one being that it was built over the Venetian lagoon. The city was built on wooden pillars that were dug deep into the lagoon, which, since its construction, have been slowly sinking. With climate change getting worse and worse,  the sea levels are rising, which in return is making Venice even more vulnerable to sinking. The continued rise of sea water levels has caused flooding to become more severe and frequent. Venice’s most recent flood on Nov. 12, 2019 caused $1.1 billion in damages all together.

To get a clear idea of how climate change is affecting Venice, The Wolf  interviewed Tualatin High School IB ESS teacher Jessica Fontaine to specifically  find out how climate change is affecting sea levels. 

So basically we have a finite amount of water on Earth, and it’s stored in different places: the ocean, the atmosphere, rivers, lakes, groundwater, glaciers, etc. As our climate changes and many parts of the world that normally stay at freezing temperatures begin to warm, a lot of the water that is stored in glaciers and ice sheets is melting, and that ice-melt eventually ends up in the ocean. More water in the ocean means higher sea levels, just like filling a bathtub,” Fontaine explained. 

Rising sea levels are inevitable, and we must find ways to adapt, Fontaine continued.. 

“I mean Venice IS sinking; that’s pretty clear,” Fontaine said. “It is a historic city in a wealthy part of the world and a popular tourist destination, so I think they’ll be okay in terms of resources to help combat the issue. But this will continue to be an uphill battle they must face, as climate change isn’t going away anytime soon. Even if we stopped all fossil fuel combustion today, the Earth has already warmed by over 1*C and we are going to hit 1.5*C of warming in the next decade. That means the sea levels will continue rising, at an average rate of about 2 meters per 1*C of warming. We must both adapt to the changes that are now inevitable, while combating the root cause, which is our reliance on fossil fuels.”

With climate change and the continuous rise of sea levels, experts say Venice might become the new Alantis.