Climate science

Climate change endangers culture

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Many of the world's most important cultural sites could find themselves below sea level owing to climate change.

Using high-resolution topography and predictions of sea-level rise as a result of global warming, Ben Marzeion at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and Anders Levermann of Potsdam University, Germany, calculated the temperature at which each cultural site on the World Heritage List would be affected by swelling oceans. The authors found that if current global mean temperatures were sustained for two millennia, around 40 sites, 6% of the total, would be damaged if left unprotected. If global temperatures warmed by 3 kelvins the number of sites would rise to 136, or 19% of the total.

Environ. Res. Lett. 9, 034001 (2014)

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