A risk assessment tool for the protection of cultural heritage exposed to extreme climate events

Sardella Alessandro

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Monumental complexes, archaeological sites, historic buildings with related collections and cultural landscapes, are globally recognized to be at risk as a consequence of the impact of climate induced extreme events. The identification of threats and the analysis of the current and future impacts on cultural heritage in its tangible and intangible dimensions are therefore nowadays a priority for the scientific community and public and private authorities responsible for its safeguarding [1,2].

This contribution focuses on the presentation of the “Risk mapping tool for cultural heritage protection” (WGT), which is specifically addressed to the safeguarding of cultural heritage assets exposed to hydrometeorological extreme events linked to climate change. The implementation of the WGT, developed within the Interreg Central Europe projects ProteCHt2save and STRENCH, has been strongly based on a user-driven approach and the multidisciplinary collaboration among the scientific community, public authorities and the private sector [3]. The WGT provides climate hazard maps in Europe and Mediterranean Basin where cultural and natural heritage is exposed to heavy rain, flash and large basin flooding and prolonged drought. Risk level is assessed by the elaboration of extreme changes of precipitation and temperature performed using selected climate extreme indices among those defined by the Expert Team on Climate Change Detection Indices (ETCCDI) and by integrating data from: i) State-of-the-art observational dataset E-OBS; ii) Copernicus C3S products (ERA5 Land and ERA5 reanalyses); iii) NASA product (GPM IMERG) and iv) Regional Climate Models from the Euro-CORDEX experiment under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios for near and far future.

The WGT also allows users to rank the vulnerability of the heritage categories under investigation at local scale taking into account 3 main requirements: susceptibility, exposure and resilience. The functionalities of the “risk mapping tool” have been tested at European case studies representative of cultural landscape, ruined hamlets and historic gardens and parks.



[1] Bonazza A., Sardella A., Kaiser A., Cacciotti R., De Nuntiis P., Hanus C., Maxwell I., Drdácký T., Drdácký M. Safeguarding cultural heritage from climate change related hydrometeorological hazards in Central Europe. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. Vol. 63. 2021. 102455.

[2] Bonazza A., and Sardella A. 2023. Climate Change and Cultural Heritage: Methods and Approaches for Damage and Risk Assessment Addressed to a Practical Application. Heritage 2023, 6, 3578–3589. doi:10.3390/heritage6040190.

[3] Sardella A., Palazzi E., von Hardenberg J, Del Grande C., De Nuntiis P., Sabbioni C. and Bonazza A. Risk mapping for the sustainable protection of cultural heritage in extreme changing environments. Special Issue Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Urban Cultural Heritage. Atmosphere. 2020.


Short bio

Alessandro Sardella - Geologist with experience in the field of environmental characterization of contaminated sites, environmental monitoring for the preservation of the built heritage and cultural landscapes in urban and remote areas, planning and implementing field investigations, and project management. Since 2015 he’s involved in the research unit "Impacts on Environment, Cultural Heritage and Human Health" at CNR-ISAC of Bologna dedicated to the protection of cultural heritage from extreme climate events and anthropogenic hazards. He’s currently TD CNR-ISAC and performs technical scientific work on the project PNRR ECOSISTER.

Link https://meet.goto.com/932307501

Bologna, sala 111 Biblioteca "D. Nobili" Area CNR e online