ACT Newsletter - Adapting to Climate change in Time

Climate change impacts on cultural heritage in Ancona

C. Cacace1, R. Gaddi 2, A. Giovagnoli1, M. Cusano 2, P. Bonanni 2
1 IsCR (Institute for Restoration and Conservation)
2 ISPRA (Institute for Environmental Protection and Research)

The assessment of Climate Change effects on Cultural Heritage, carried out by ISPRA (Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) and by IsCR, (Italian Institute for Conservation and Restoration) was realized to identify the potential risk for cultural objects in Ancona.
In particular the study was finalized firstly to classify those monuments that could be mostly subjected to the deterioration processes and subsequently to define the opportune adaptation strategies for the protection of the artworks in Ancona.
The method for evaluating the potential weathering hazard on Cultural Heritage in Ancona was based on The Risk Map of Cultural Heritage, a project realized by IsCR in 1996. The calculation of risk indicator was based on the acquisition of vulnerability (V) information of the single item and territorial hazard (H) data.
The vulnerability of each monument represents the variable indicating its level of exposure to environmental/territorial hazard in relation with its superficial conservation condition. The territorial hazard represents the potential territorial attack respect to works of art and depends on those climatic and environmental factors that could influence the deterioration processes (atmospheric moisture, temperature, wind and the synergic action of pollution and climate).
In this work, the vulnerability data were collected, through a data sheets model, for 27 cultural items in Ancona (25 architectural monuments and 2 archaeological sites) among the 125 monuments registered in the Territorial Informative System (SIT) of The Risk Map. Statistical analysis showed that the mainly forms of decay on considered monuments were referable to humidity, to materials powdering and to superficial alteration. Moreover superficial vulnerability data indicated that the 25 architectural items studied in this project showed values generally medium-high although the global vulnerability was high for archaeological sites.
In this study the territorial hazard was represented by the quantification of material loss (surface recession expressed in μm year-1) for calcareous items in the current scenario and in a future scenario (2030). In the current scenario the surface recession was generally lower than the tolerable value fixed by literature (ICP Materials, 8 μm year-1). In the future scenario the foreseen precipitation and air pollutants decreases should cause a slight reduction of the damage in respect to the current scenario. The correlation between the vulnerability of the single item and the territorial hazard provided the potential risk for the 27 cultural items. The results indicated that the risk is more considerable for those artworks characterized by worse conservation condition (Mole Vanvitelliana, Chiesa del SS. Sacramento, Chiesa del Gesù).
Considering that the territorial hazard shouldn’t significantly change from current situation, the risk for cultural objects in a future scenario will depend on conservative condition of the monuments. The items characterized by higher vulnerability should be subjected to frequent maintenance activities to check their conservation condition and to maximize their adaptive capacity to climate and environmental changes.

Other news from the partners

With the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community