Special Issue "Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Resources Threatened by Climate Change"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (6 July 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Chiara Bertolin

Department of Architecture and Technology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Website | E-Mail
Interests: climate change; environmental monitoring; wood; polychrome wood; mechanical decay; non-destructive technique; acoustic emission; historic buildings; sustainable refurbishment; district scale
Top 5 World Heritage sites: Venice, Dubrovnik, Portovenere and Cinque Terre National Park, Urnes stave church, the art of dry stone walls

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We agree that transmitting our cultural heritage as a manifest source of our common history and identity to future generations, by protecting physical representations of past events and people, is a crucial obligation of our generation. The Council of  Europe's European Heritage Strategy for the 21st Century calls for more reliable quantified information on the impact of climate change on cultural heritage as the changing climate is affecting the cultural tourism sector, the organizations who take care of the Cultural Heritage—with difficulties in managing indoor environments caused by increasing costs and lack of funds—local and regional economies, their traditional practices, as well as their use of resources and adaptation planning options.

The Special Issue of Geosciences titled: “Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Resources Threatened by Climate Change” has been launched to take stock of the existing, but still fragmentary knowledge on this challenge—at European level only two projects, Noah`s Ark (2007), and Climate for Culture, (2014) finalized their research on these issues—and to enable the heritage community to respond to the implementation of the Paris Climate agreement.

Additional research, to assess past and future weather-related events affecting cultural heritage is needed to document experience of how cultural heritage were affected and responded to changing climate (e.g., using previous data surveys, archival data, photographs), and to plan long-term management scenarios of heritage sites on the base of future climate change projections.

These outcomes will help in identifying the most important resulting risks together with the opportunities of exploiting new tools for adapting to a changing climate. Outcomes ask for a better understanding of naturally-aged material response to environmental changes, development of evidence-based risk assessment software, sustainable methodological approaches of adaptation interventions at larger scale, as well as use of remote sensing satellite data to estimate long-term risks worldwide.

This Special Issue of Geosciences aims to gather high-quality original research articles, reviews and technical notes on experimental research and/or case studies with respect to the above described challenges. Depending on your main focus, a wide choice of methods (e.g., GIS and remote sensing, models/simulations, field survey, participatory-based, sampling and experimental based) and spatial range (e.g., from landscape/ district to site/ building, up to collections, objects and materials scale) can be applied on data analysis. Possible topics of interest for the special issue are the following:

  • Document how the implementation of cultural heritage adaptation or preservation is taking place at different scales in a changing climate.
  • Document how the lesson learned from previous climate change responses at heritage site can help in informing decision-making managers and stakeholders to plan future most effective adaptation interventions.
  • Point out the analysis of use of resources during preventive and/or remedial interventions. Is there any clear demarcation threshold in decision-making when applying low level conservative intervention or high-level adaptation interventions?
  • Propose an effective procedure to document the ongoing effect of climate change on cultural heritage at different scale. Point out differences in protocols to be established for movable and immovable cultural heritage
  • Methods/tools to assess/measure climate change induced impacts on cultural heritage with slow and cumulative effects (e.g., sea level rise, coastal erosion, changing air temperature and humidity) and/or immediate and drastic effects (e.g., floods, hurricanes, storms and droughts).
  • Methods/tools to distinguish between the “normal” weathering materials (i.e., standard material lifetime) and the “additional” weathering induced by the ongoing climate change effect.
  • Barriers, limits and constraints in comparing results on climate-induced decay on naturally-aged materials (real environment) with results on climate-induced decay on samples constituted of new or thermally aged materials (laboratory environment).
  • Temporal scale of preservation/adaptation—short and long-term challenges and methodological approaches to enhance sustainable preservation and adaptation of cultural heritage (e.g., through simulation of future climate change effects, control of climate-induced decay, optimization of materials re-use in conservation interventions).
  • Use of a multiple-level rating method to evaluate climate change effect on cultural heritage that includes climate-induced decay on heritage material, as well as historical and cultural value to better assist decision-making managers in choosing adaptation and preservation interventions.

Assoc. Prof. Chiara Bertolin
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Estimators of the Impact of Climate Change in Salt Weathering of Cultural Heritage
Geosciences 2018, 8(11), 401; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8110401
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 3 November 2018
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Abstract
Changes induced by climate change in salt weathering of built cultural heritage are estimated in different ways, but generally as a function of phase changes phenomena of two common salts, sodium chloride and sodium sulfate. We propose to use not only these salts, [...] Read more.
Changes induced by climate change in salt weathering of built cultural heritage are estimated in different ways, but generally as a function of phase changes phenomena of two common salts, sodium chloride and sodium sulfate. We propose to use not only these salts, but also other common salts as calcium sulfate, or mixtures of chlorides, sulfates, and nitrates of sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Comparisons between the predicted changes in salt weathering obtained for single salts and for combinations of different salts are presented. We applied the proposed methodology to 41 locations uniformly distributed in France. The results show that estimations of actual and evolution of future weathering depend on the selected salt or combination of salts. According to our results, when using a combination of different salts, weathering evolution is less favorable (more damage in the future) than when using a single salt. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Simulations of Moisture Gradients in Wood Subjected to Changes in Relative Humidity and Temperature Due to Climate Change
Geosciences 2018, 8(10), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8100378
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 10 October 2018 / Accepted: 10 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Climate change is a growing threat to cultural heritage buildings and objects. Objects housed in historic buildings are at risk because the indoor environments in these buildings are difficult to control and often influenced by the outdoor climate. Hygroscopic materials, such as wood, [...] Read more.
Climate change is a growing threat to cultural heritage buildings and objects. Objects housed in historic buildings are at risk because the indoor environments in these buildings are difficult to control and often influenced by the outdoor climate. Hygroscopic materials, such as wood, will gain and release moisture during changes in relative humidity and temperature. These changes cause swelling and shrinkage, which may result in permanent damage. To increase the knowledge of climate-induced damage to heritage objects, it is essential to monitor moisture transport in wood. Simulation models need to be developed and improved to predict the influence of climate change. In a previous work, relative humidity and temperature was monitored at different depths inside wooden samples subjected to fluctuating climate over time. In this article, two methods, the hygrothermal building simulation software WUFI® Pro and the Simplified model, were compared in relation to the measured data. The conclusion was that both methods can simulate moisture diffusion and transport in wooden object with a sufficient accuracy. Using the two methods for predicted climate change data show that the mean RH inside wood is rather constant, but the RH minimum and maximum vary with the predicted scenario and the type of building used for the simulation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Methodology for Long-Term Monitoring of Climate Change Impacts on Historic Buildings
Geosciences 2018, 8(10), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8100370
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 24 September 2018 / Accepted: 27 September 2018 / Published: 4 October 2018
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Abstract
A new methodology for long-term monitoring of climate change impacts on historic buildings and interiors has been developed. This paper proposes a generic framework for how monitoring programs can be developed and describes the planning and arrangement of a Norwegian monitoring campaign. The [...] Read more.
A new methodology for long-term monitoring of climate change impacts on historic buildings and interiors has been developed. This paper proposes a generic framework for how monitoring programs can be developed and describes the planning and arrangement of a Norwegian monitoring campaign. The methodology aims to make it possible to establish a data-driven decision making process based on monitored decay related to climate change. This monitoring campaign includes 45 medieval buildings distributed over the entirety of Norway. Thirty-five of these buildings are dated to before 1537 and include wooden buildings as well as 10 medieval churches built in stone while the remaining 10 buildings are situated in the World Heritage sites of Bryggen, in Bergen on the west coast of Norway, and in Røros, which is a mining town in the inland of the country. The monitoring is planned to run for 30 to 50 years. It includes a zero-level registration and an interval-based registration system focused on relevant indicators, which will make it possible to register climate change-induced decay at an early stage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Study and Characterization of Environmental Deposition on Marble and Surrogate Substrates at a Monumental Heritage Site
Geosciences 2018, 8(9), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8090349
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 6 September 2018 / Accepted: 10 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
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Abstract
In this study, the results of the field exposure activity conducted between 2014 and 2017 on the façade of the Milano cathedral (Italy) are reported. The main research aim was to characterize environmental deposition in real exposure conditions and for this purpose, both [...] Read more.
In this study, the results of the field exposure activity conducted between 2014 and 2017 on the façade of the Milano cathedral (Italy) are reported. The main research aim was to characterize environmental deposition in real exposure conditions and for this purpose, both stone substrates (Candoglia marble) and surrogate substrates (quartz fibre filters) were exposed on the cathedral façade in two sites at different heights. A complete chemical characterization has been performed on quartz filters and marble substrates, i.e., quantification of the deposited aerosol particulate matter (PM) and of the main ions. On quartz filters, the carbonaceous component of deposits was also investigated, as well as the color change induced by soiling, by means of colorimetric measurements. The combined approach exploiting marble and surrogate substrates seems to be a suitable monitoring strategy, although some aspects should be taken into account. In particular, differences in the deposits composition have been highlighted mainly depending on the type of substrate. The environmental data related to atmospheric pollution in Milan for the same period have also been considered but no direct correlations were found between some atmospheric precursors and their related ions in solid deposits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Indoor Multi-Risk Scenarios of Climate Change Effects on Building Materials in Scandinavian Countries
Geosciences 2018, 8(9), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8090347
Received: 14 July 2018 / Revised: 10 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
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Abstract
Within the built environment, historic buildings are among the most vulnerable structures to the climate change impact. In the Scandinavian countries, the risk from climatic changes is more pronounced and the right adaptation interventions should be chosen properly. This article, through a multidisciplinary [...] Read more.
Within the built environment, historic buildings are among the most vulnerable structures to the climate change impact. In the Scandinavian countries, the risk from climatic changes is more pronounced and the right adaptation interventions should be chosen properly. This article, through a multidisciplinary approach, links the majority of climate-induced decay variables for different building materials with the buildings’ capacity to change due to their protection status. The method tends to be general as it assesses the decay level for different building materials, sizes, and locations. The application of the method in 38 locations in the Scandinavian countries shows that the risk from climatic changes is imminent. In the far future (2071–2100), chemical and biological decays will slightly increase, especially in the southern part of the peninsula, while the mechanical decay of the building materials kept indoors will generally decrease. Furthermore, the merge of the decay results with the protection level of the building will serve as a good indicator to plan the right level and time of intervention for adapting to the future climatic changes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle δ13C and δ18O Stable Isotope Analysis Applied to Detect Technological Variations and Weathering Processes of Ancient Lime and Hydraulic Mortars
Geosciences 2018, 8(9), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8090339
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 8 September 2018
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Abstract
Samples of mortars were collected from lime and hydraulic mortars affected by environmental degradation. A total of 63 samples were obtained from Hellenistic, Late Roman and Byzantine historic constructions located at Kavala, Drama and Makrygialos in North Greece. Samples were collected in sections [...] Read more.
Samples of mortars were collected from lime and hydraulic mortars affected by environmental degradation. A total of 63 samples were obtained from Hellenistic, Late Roman and Byzantine historic constructions located at Kavala, Drama and Makrygialos in North Greece. Samples were collected in sections from the surface up to 6 cm deep using a drill-core material. The first sample was collected from the external layer, while the internal samples were collected each 1cm beeper from the previous, in order to monitor the moisture ingress. Isotopic data will make it possible to create an ideal Hellenistic and Byzantine mortar layer and to provide weathering gradients. The isotopic values comprise a range of δ13C and δ18O values from −17.1‰ to 1.2‰ and −25.9‰ to −2‰, respectively. The weathering process of Hellenistic and Byzantine are expressed, by the regression lines δ18Ocalcite matrix = 0.6 × δ13Ccalcite matrix − 1.9 and δ18Ocalcite matrix = 0.6 × δ13Ccalcite matrix − 2.0 for hydraulic and Lime mortars respectively. Pronounced isotopic shift to heavy or light δ13C and δ18O in the carbonate matrix was attributed to the primary source of CO2 (atmospheric versus biogenic) and H2O (evaporation of local primary water), in residual limestone and in secondary processes such as recrystallization of calcite with pore water and salts attack. Exogenic processes related to biological growth are responsible for further alterations of δ18O and δ13C in lime mortars. This study indicated that stable isotope analysis is an excellent tool to fingerprint the origin of carbonate, the environmental setting conditions of mortar, origin of CO2 and water during calcite formation and to determine the weathering depth and the potential secondary degradation mechanisms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Review of Potential Risk Factors of Cultural Heritage Sites and Initial Modelling for Adaptation to Climate Change
Geosciences 2018, 8(9), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8090322
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 10 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 29 August 2018
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Abstract
There are a range of local weather- and climate-related factors that contribute to the degradation of cultural heritage buildings, structures, and sites over time. Some of these factors are influenced by changes in climate and some of these changes manifest themselves through a [...] Read more.
There are a range of local weather- and climate-related factors that contribute to the degradation of cultural heritage buildings, structures, and sites over time. Some of these factors are influenced by changes in climate and some of these changes manifest themselves through a speeding up of the rate of degradation. It is the intention of this paper to review this situation with special reference to the Nordic Countries, where typical trends resulting from climate change are shorter winters and increased precipitation all year round. An attempt is made to initially draw up a classification of materials and structures relevant to cultural heritage that are affected, with a proposed numeric scale for the urgency to act. The intention is to provide information on where best to concentrate cultural heritage site preservation resources in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Adapting Cultural Heritage to Climate Change Risks: Perspectives of Cultural Heritage Experts in Europe
Geosciences 2018, 8(8), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8080305
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 7 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1644 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Changes in rainfall patterns, humidity, and temperature, as well as greater exposure to severe weather events, has led to the need for adapting cultural heritage to climate change. However, there is limited research accomplished to date on the process of adaptation of cultural [...] Read more.
Changes in rainfall patterns, humidity, and temperature, as well as greater exposure to severe weather events, has led to the need for adapting cultural heritage to climate change. However, there is limited research accomplished to date on the process of adaptation of cultural heritage to climate change. This paper examines the perceptions of experts involved in the management and preservation of cultural heritage on adaptation to climate change risks. For this purpose, semi-structured interviews were conducted with experts from the UK, Italy, and Norway as well as a participatory workshop with stakeholders. The results indicate that the majority of interviewees believe that adaptation of cultural heritage to climate change is possible. Opportunities for, barriers to, and requirements for adapting cultural heritage to climate change, as perceived by the interviewees, provided a better understanding of what needs to be provided and prioritized for adaptation to take place and in its strategic planning. Knowledge of management methodologies incorporating climate change impacts by the interviewees together with best practice examples in adapting cultural heritage to climate change are also reported. Finally, the interviewees identified the determinant factors for the implementation of climate change adaptation. This paper highlights the need for more research on this topic and the identification and dissemination of practical solutions and tools for the incorporation of climate change adaptation in the preservation and management of cultural heritage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle How Can Climate Change Affect the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites in Panama?
Geosciences 2018, 8(8), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8080296
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
This work investigates the impact of long-term climate change on heritage sites in Latin America, focusing on two important sites in the Panamanian isthmus included in the World Heritage List: the monumental site of Panamá Viejo (16th century) and the Fortresses of Portobelo [...] Read more.
This work investigates the impact of long-term climate change on heritage sites in Latin America, focusing on two important sites in the Panamanian isthmus included in the World Heritage List: the monumental site of Panamá Viejo (16th century) and the Fortresses of Portobelo and San Lorenzo (17th to 18th centuries). First of all, in order to support the conservation and valorisation of these sites, a characterisation of the main construction materials utilized in the building masonries was performed together with an analysis of the meteoclimatic conditions in their vicinity as provided by monitoring stations recording near-surface air temperature, relative humidity, and rainfall amounts. Secondly, the same climate variables were analysed in the historical and future simulations of a state-of-the-art global climate model, EC-Earth, run at high horizontal resolution, and then used with damage functions to make projections of deterioration phenomena on the Panamanian heritage sites. In particular, we performed an evaluation of the possible surface recession, biomass accumulation, and deterioration due to salt crystallisation cycles on these sites in the future (by midcentury, 2039–2068) compared to the recent past (1979–2008), considering a future scenario of high greenhouse gas emissions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Standardized Indoor Air Quality Assessments as a Tool to Prepare Heritage Guardians for Changing Preservation Conditions due to Climate Change
Geosciences 2018, 8(8), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8080276
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 24 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2761 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change will affect the preservation conditions of our cultural heritage. Therefore, well-considered mitigation actions should be implemented to safeguard our heritage for future generations. Environmental monitoring is essential to follow up the change in preservation conditions and to evaluate the effectiveness of [...] Read more.
Climate change will affect the preservation conditions of our cultural heritage. Therefore, well-considered mitigation actions should be implemented to safeguard our heritage for future generations. Environmental monitoring is essential to follow up the change in preservation conditions and to evaluate the effectiveness of performed mitigation actions. To support heritage guardians in the processing and evaluation of monitored data, an indoor air quality (IAQ) index for heritage applications is introduced. The index is calculated for each measured point in time and is visualized in a user-friendly and intuitive way. The current paper describes the backbone of the IAQ-calculating algorithm. The algorithm is subsequently applied on a case study in which a mitigation action is implemented in a church. Full article
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