Venice Is Pretty Much Under Water, and You Can Thank Climate Change

The highest tides in 50 years submerged almost half the Italian city

St. Mark's Square in Venice after Tuesday's high tide
Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images
By Kirk Miller / November 13, 2019 2:27 pm

Venice is flooding, and that’s no joke.

The mayor for the iconic Italian city, renowned for its canals, has called for a state of emergency after the streets were flooded by the highest tide (“acqua alta”) in 50 years, which peaked at 73.6 inches and left up to 45 percent of the town flooded.

In a social media post after Tuesday’s rising waters, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro blamed climate change for the city’s recent issues and called for the completion of a barrier system.

As the New York Times reports, both residents and tourists could be seen wading through waters in rain boots, while the ground floor of several buildings were flooded and tourist sites such as St. Mark’s Square were under up to five feet of water.

Related: Congratulations, Tourists, You’ve Officially Killed Venice

The undersea barrier system Burgnario spoke of is called MOSE, but the offshore underwater dams are not yet completed. As well, NPR suggests they will be “insufficient to deal with rising sea levels.”

Not helping matters? Venice itself is sinking, and could be underwater by the year 2100.

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