Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states
that ‘global warming is unequivocal’ and is
due largely to an increase in atmospheric concentration
of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), caused
by the burning of fossil fuels. Since 1993, the global mean
sea level has risen at a rate of about 3.2 mm per year.
Thermal expansion of the oceans and widespread melting of
land ice will result in further global sea level rise.
Reduced rainfall, higher
sea and land surface temperatures, more severe storm events,
ocean acidification and rising sea levels are all expected
to have a significant impact on World Heritage sites.
The conservation of natural
and cultural heritage may be jeopardized by climate change.
Glaciers are melting, coral reefs are exposed to bleaching,
and terrestrial biodiversity is being affected. Increasing
sea levels threaten many cultural sites located near the
coast, and other aspects of climate change are affecting
ancient archaeological sites.
Through a series of remarkable
examples, this exhibition demonstrates the use of satellite
Earth observation to assess the effects of climate change
on selected World Heritage sites. Space-based sensors have
the capacity to measure essential climate change variables.Overall
comprehensive monitoring using space technologies is made
possible through collaboration among nations around the
globe. 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of the European
Space Agency – UNESCO ‘Open Initiative on the
use of space technologies to support World Heritage: From
Space to Place’. Today, 60 space partners are assisting
UNESCO in bringing the benefits of space science and technology
to developing countries.
exhibition has been developed by UNESCO
with the financial aid of the Flemish
Government and thanks to generous contributions from
a number of space partners: the Belgian
Science Policy Office, Planet
Action (France), the European
Space Agency (ESA) and the German
Aerospace Center (DLR).
The information used for this exhibition
was taken from:
Studies on Climate Change and World Heritage’
Fourth Assessment Report ‘Climate Change 2007: Impacts,
Adaptation and Vulnerability’ (Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, 2007)
Years of Imaging the Earth’ (Belgian Federal Science
Policy Office, 2009).
- UNESCO Open Initiative: From Space to Place’
joint projects between UNESCO and space partners.