Challenges to Heritage Conservation under Climate Change

A special issue of Heritage (ISSN 2571-9408).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2024) | Viewed by 8038

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council of Italy (CNR-ISAC), Bologna, Italy
Interests: climate change; pollution; cultural heritage; risk assesment; damage modelling; protection strategies
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Co-Guest Editor
Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Hamburg, Germany
Interests: climate modelling; climate data; climate change; cultural heritage

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Co-Guest Editor
Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council of Italy (CNR-ISAC), Bologna, Italy
Interests: environmental monitoring; extreme events; earth observation; deterioration; cultural landscapes; built heritage; risk assessment; material characterization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The impact of climate change on cultural heritage is foreseen to increase dramatically in the future both in terms of slow cumulative deterioration processes (decohesion and fracturing due to thermal stress and salt weathering, biodeterioration, surface recession) and damage caused by extreme hydrometeorological events (prolonged droughts, heavy rains). While the sea level threatens to completely submerge Mediterranean coastal monumental complexes and archaeological sites, river floods strongly affect historic buildings and city centers, particularly in Central Europe.

These evolving conditions impose new and continuously changing conservation challenges and create an urgent need for innovative safeguarding approaches, particularly under extreme weather and climate events.

Research and innovation in assets at risk, exposure, impacts, methodologies and tools for adaptation capacity and strategies are therefore urgently needed to safeguard and preserve cultural heritage—both tangible and related intangible aspects—against continuous decay.

This Special Issue aims to explore sustainable methodologies, tools and strategies for resilience strengthening of cultural heritage at risk under climate change through an interdisciplinary and multi-sectorial approach. Research contributions may include (but are not limited to) the following themes:

  • Climate change impacts on cultural and natural heritage;
  • Damage evaluation through application of the data from earth observations and climate models;
  • Developments and applications of damage functions and modeling;
  • Sustainable solutions for protection and conservation under the changing climate;
  • Measures and strategies for the prevention and safeguarding of cultural heritage;
  • User-driven approaches and tools to support public authorities and private organizations in the decision-making process to safeguard cultural heritage at risk.

Prof. Dr. Alessandra Bonazza
Dr. Lola Kotova
Alessandro Sardella
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Heritage is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 10376 KiB  
Article
Hazard Analysis and Vulnerability Assessment of Cultural Landscapes Exposed to Climate Change-Related Extreme Events: A Case Study of Wachau (Austria)
by Linda Canesi, Alessandro Sardella, Rainer Vogler, Anna Kaiser, Carmela Vaccaro and Alessandra Bonazza
Heritage 2024, 7(4), 1917-1934; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage7040091 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1346
Abstract
The present paper aims to study the Wachau Valley in Austria as a representative Cultural Landscape under threat from extreme hydrometeorological hazards linked to climate change. The primary objective is to investigate the impacts and assess the vulnerability associated with the events of [...] Read more.
The present paper aims to study the Wachau Valley in Austria as a representative Cultural Landscape under threat from extreme hydrometeorological hazards linked to climate change. The primary objective is to investigate the impacts and assess the vulnerability associated with the events of heavy rain and flooding. The methodology employed consists of an investigation of recorded past events impacting the Wachau; a vulnerability ranking system; a climate time series analysis based on earth observation products; and future hazard maps at territorial level, developed with outputs from regional and global climate models. The investigation we carried out provides a vulnerability assessment of two terraced areas with a surface of about 10,000 m2 in total, characterized by the presence of dry stone walls, with different state of conservation in the Municipality of Krems (Wachau). In addition, climate projections at territorial level for the extreme climate indices R20mm, R95pTOT, and R×5day—selected for investigating the likelihood of increases/decreases in events of heavy rain and large basin flooding—are provided, with a spatial resolution of ~12 km for the near and far future (2021–2050; 2071–2100) under stabilizing (RCP 4.5) and pessimistic (RCP 8.5) scenarios. The results indicate a general increase for the three indices in the studied areas during the far future under the pessimistic scenario, suggesting a heightened risk of heavy rain and flooding. These findings aim to inform policymakers and decision-makers in their development of strategies for safeguarding cultural heritage. Furthermore, they serve to assist local stakeholders in enhancing their understanding of prioritizing interventions related to preparedness, emergency response, and recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges to Heritage Conservation under Climate Change)
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23 pages, 12702 KiB  
Article
Preventing Glass Misting in Indoor Showcases with Burial Remains at Al Ain, UAE
by Dario Camuffo, Roberta Giorio, Antonio della Valle, Francesco Rizzi, Patrizia Barucco, Marivita Suma, Jalal Ahmed, Amel Chabbi, Ola Shaker and Peter Sheehan
Heritage 2024, 7(2), 585-607; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage7020028 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1329
Abstract
The historic house of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa, Al Ain (Abu Dhabi, UAE) belongs to the World Heritage Cultural Sites. The courtyard and two rooms include mudbrick archaeological remains that are preserved in showcases for public display. The building lies in a hot [...] Read more.
The historic house of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa, Al Ain (Abu Dhabi, UAE) belongs to the World Heritage Cultural Sites. The courtyard and two rooms include mudbrick archaeological remains that are preserved in showcases for public display. The building lies in a hot desert climate and needs air conditioning to be comfortable. This paper is concerned with indoor showcases and their compatibility with the indoor climate. Sometimes, misting for condensation is generated on the glass panes for the temperature and humidity contrast between the room climate and the showcases that are embedded in the floor. When misting occurs, the remains cannot be viewed. This paper investigates indoor glass misting, the exchanges of heat and moisture between archaeological remains, showcases and rooms, and the results after a year of environmental monitoring. An aim is to assess the potential risks for the preservation of the remains, recognizing the frequency and severity of the conditions for condensation. Another aim is to discuss mitigation methodologies to avoid glass misting, e.g., (i) reducing the room cooling; (ii) raising the glass pane temperature with electrical devices; (iii) increasing air exchanges between showcases and rooms; (iv) adopting a combination of these methodologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges to Heritage Conservation under Climate Change)
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15 pages, 5018 KiB  
Article
Predicted Dynamic of Biodeterioration in Cultural Heritage Stones Due to Climate Changes in Humid Tropical Regions—A Case Study on the Rhodotorula sp. Yeast
by Fabio Sitzia, Carla Lisci, Vera Pires, Luís Dias, José Mirão and Ana Teresa Caldeira
Heritage 2023, 6(12), 7727-7741; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage6120406 - 15 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1811
Abstract
The recent global warming started at the end of the 19th century, causing an increase in the average temperature of Earth and posing environmental, social, economic, and cultural repercussions. Much tangible cultural heritage is composed of natural stones, which decay due to the [...] Read more.
The recent global warming started at the end of the 19th century, causing an increase in the average temperature of Earth and posing environmental, social, economic, and cultural repercussions. Much tangible cultural heritage is composed of natural stones, which decay due to the combination of chemical, physical, and biological factors. Biodeterioration leads to a loss of the performance requirements and socio-economic value of stone building materials. In the future, the dynamics of biodeterioration will hypothetically vary. This study aims to shed light on this variation by comparing biodeterioration under historical climatic conditions (1995–2014) with a future scenario defined by the IPCC SSP5-8.5 for the reference period 2080–2099. The material tested is Pedra de Ançã (PA), a candidate for World Heritage Stone. Climatic chambers were used to simulate the historical and predicted environmental conditions. The scope of this investigation is to understand the growth dynamic of the biodeteriogen Rhodotorula sp. and to study the morphological and aesthetic variations of stone surfaces. Biochemical and micro-topographic analyses highlighted the metabolic activity of the population proliferating under distinct environmental conditions, revealing better adaptability of Rhodotorula sp. and higher biocorrosion in the historical climate status with respect to the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges to Heritage Conservation under Climate Change)
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25 pages, 21480 KiB  
Article
Echoes of the Past: Unveiling the Kharga Oasis’ Cultural Heritage and Climate Vulnerability through Millennia
by Hossam Ismael, Waleed Abbas, Heba Ghaly and Ahmed M. El Kenawy
Heritage 2023, 6(9), 6397-6421; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage6090335 - 19 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2135
Abstract
The civilization and tangible cultural heritage of the Kharga Oasis has a historical precedence over that of the old Nile Valley civilization. Approximately 12,000 years ago, a significant prehistoric migration occurred from the Kharga Oasis to the Nile Valley. This event was motivated [...] Read more.
The civilization and tangible cultural heritage of the Kharga Oasis has a historical precedence over that of the old Nile Valley civilization. Approximately 12,000 years ago, a significant prehistoric migration occurred from the Kharga Oasis to the Nile Valley. This event was motivated by climate change and the southward shift of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which caused a shift in Egypt’s savannah forests from abundant vegetation to an extremely dry desert. The present study investigates the progressive deterioration of the tangible cultural and civilized legacy of the Kharga Oasis over the course of several millennia, positing that this phenomenon can be attributed to the area’s vulnerability to paleoclimatic fluctuations. The evaluation of the Kharga Oasis’ susceptibility to climate change was predicated on the scrutiny of petroglyphs that were unearthed at different sites within the Oasis. This analysis was reinforced by paleoclimate information and radiocarbon dating (C14). The utilization of an interdisciplinary approach yielded significant insights into the dynamic climate patterns and their effects on the Kharga Oasis across temporal scales. The results illustrated a noteworthy alteration in climate, which caused the conversion of the Oasis terrain from being heavily wooded to becoming arid, mainly due to extended periods of drought. The present research postulates a novel and alternate hypothesis concerning the archaeological chronology of human habitation in the Kharga Oasis from ancient eras, predicated on the analysis of pictorial depictions on rock surfaces. The findings of this study made a noteworthy contribution to the current corpus of knowledge regarding the vulnerability of the ancient Egyptian society to the impacts of climate variability. Moreover, the petroglyphs’ depictions provided a distinctive viewpoint on the climatic fluctuations that occurred in the Sahara and North Africa throughout the Holocene epoch, as well as the fundamental causative factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges to Heritage Conservation under Climate Change)
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