An exceptional “high water” event in Venice, where the tide rose to 187 cm, the highest level since the great flood of 1966

De Mayda

© Matteo de Mayda / Contrasto


Coastal populations around the world are being threatened by rising sea levels caused by global warming. The city of Venice is at even greater risk than many because it is also undergoing the phenomenon of subsidence, that is the sinking of the earth's surface for natural or anthropogenic reasons. In November 2019, alarm bells sounded around the world due to the “exceptional high water” in Venice, one of the highest levels ever recorded since the Unification of Italy.
The sea level varies according to our planet’s average temperature; so, when temperatures increase, polar ice melts, causing the oceans to expand. Before 1880, the global average sea level was more or less stable, but it has been rising rapidly since then, especially since the post-World War II period, which saw a sharp increase in industrial production. Tide gauge data compared with studies on underwater archaeological settlements show that the current acceleration of the rise in the sea level began just 100 years ago.
Scientific models predict that sea levels could rise by about one metre by 2100 if nothing is done to control the greenhouse gas emissions that are behind global warming.
Our last hope to try to limit rising sea levels in coming years is the December 2015 Paris Agreement which aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and to limit the global average temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees with respect to the pre-industrial period.

Federica Grassi