Global warming report: Venice could be under water in decades

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VENICE -- A United Nations climatologist in Brussels says current climate trends indicate Venice could be under water within a few decades.

Venice -- which is built on mud islands in a lagoon at the top of the Adriatic Sea -- "is destined to disappear" if current climate trends continue, said Osvaldo Canziani of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Canziani said rainfall in the northern Mediterranean is expected to increase 10 percent to 20 percent over the next 30 years, ANSA reported.

Experts say flooding in Venice is caused by the rising silt in the lagoon, the extraction of methane gas in the area off Venice and the overall increase in sea levels caused by global warming.

A barrier system is being built that will block the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea when high tides are forecast. ANSA said the project is scheduled for completion in 2011.

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