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The underwater depth of the lowest step on the water stairs of the palaces is used as a novel proxy for sea-level rise. After a gap caused by the Inquisition, regular observations started again in in Padua and Bologna, followed by other stations, the most famous being Milan since , Rome since and Palermo since In this paper we will consider the period since to document the LIA, as well as of the transition from the LIA to global warming.
Climate changes may affect the frequency of short-term challenges for some unusual weather situations lasting for days, weeks, or a month, e. Both of them may have a strong impact on society. Sea-level rise is a serious problem for coastal towns, and Venice is the most famous and vulnerable city. However, short-term weather events too may have some consequences that will continue over time. For instance, unusually severe winters kill tree and cattle, with serious consequences on farming activity. However, they may trigger other events, e. In addition to the direct consequences on people, animals and vegetation, frost made it impossible to use water mills and grind wheat.
The result was food shortage, and fluvial transport of goods was impossible, accentuating the famine and in particular leaving the French people without bread. This contributed to exacerbate the situation that determined the onset of the French Revolution The winter was one of the most influential winters in the history of mankind due to the synergistic combination of a series of various, independent factors. However, we cannot establish any scientific cause-effect relationship between climate and social events, although historians may take advantage of the knowledge of the climate context.
The relative relevance may change with the type of event, over time and from site to site. The essential feature is that the event should be clearly identifiable, should have a strong impact on society otherwise it can be disregarded and could be classified in terms of severity in some objective way, e. The Adriatic Sea constitutes a reservoir of mild water, e.
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The Lagoon is characterized by shallow water and the tidal exchanges are strong in the deep canals, but weak on the marshes and near the borders. For instance, the presence of violent and cold Bora wind is very efficient in removing heat. In conclusion, when the Venice Lagoon is frozen over, all the rivers and the lakes in the same region are also frozen.
The opposite, however, is not proven. The frost disrupted food supplies from the hinterland and the city was besieged by cold. In the hinterland, some people, animals and plants were killed by frost, and rivers and lakes were frozen over. However, the salt water of the Lagoon was partially frozen over, and the ice sheet was not thick enough to bear the load of people. The impossibility of boat transport caused severe problems to the city, with a terrible social impact. The extreme cold lasted for weeks, killing people, animals and trees. Wine in barrels and water in wells were frozen over.
In Venice the ice sheet was thick, and could bear the load of people, animals, barrels, carts or wagons transporting food supplies.