The Challenge of Climate Change: Between Perception And Reality

Rome, Aviator’s House, Feb 9 – (Full Report in Italian here) The conference is part of the monthly lectures series organized by the CESMA. Lecturer LtC. Fabio Malaspina, Doctor of Physics, currently Head of the Section “Regulatory Systems and Networks” of the General Office of the ITAF Meteorology and Air Space Meteorology ( SGV ) Department. LtC Malaspina was also Italy Representative to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) , and the national contact point for the “Global Atmosphere Watch” program. He was also Professor and Coordinator of the “Man, Environment and Climate” Module of the Master in Environmental Sciences at the European University of Rome.

presentations here

The lecturer started  (video here) from the man/environment relationship: in the event of a disaster actions arise from this knowledge: anticipate , inform and act on time and permanent prevention with adequate  planning of the environment is the method to achieve desired results.

The ill-reputed London smog of ‘800 almost disappeared thanks to the attention to the environment and urban planning.

Then the speaker discussed the local weather and climate underlining that the meteorological elements, everywhere, are time-varying and that normally their values​​, evaluated for long periods of observation, are defined as normal. Some of their variations have a periodic character and this can determine the “local climate”, irregular variations are those that determine the current status of the time.

Continuing LtC Malaspina gave a brief history of climate and climate change theories pointing out that, with regard to the global temperature, after a rise in the period 1977-2002, last decade was almost stable. On the other hand, as presented with some slides, the temperature trend over time was always fluctuating .

Among many others,  the speaker presented and commented some graphs relating to:

– The concentration of carbon dioxide measured by instrumentation by systematic measurements made ​​at Mauna Loa (Hawaii) since 1958 ;

– Global temperature from 1880 to the present

– Sea-level rise from 1880  ;

– The total area of the Antarctic and ArcticSea ice, measured by satellite since 1979 .

As for Italy also the graphs of average temperature and raining values from 1880 and a comparison with the global temperature and rain was commented.

Last chapter of the speech has been dedicated to some evaluations and discussion of data related to natural disasters in Italy and mortality in Italy for individual cases: Information deducted from CNR publication “disaster hydrogeological information system” ( danni_persone.htm ).

In the period between 1400 and 2002 , the latest year for catastrophic landslides was 1963, with 1950 casualties of which 1917 in Vajont (Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia) . The second most catastrophic was in 1618 with 1200 victims of Piuro (Lombardia), and the third was in 1765, the year in which the landslide Roccamontepiano (Abruzzo) caused the death of 600 people.

Between 1500 and 2002, the latest year for catastrophic flooding was 1557, with 7000 casualties in Palermo (Sicily). The second most catastrophic was 1610 with 4034 victims most of them in Piedmont, and the third in 1530 and 1598, both with an estimated 3,000 victims, in Rome.

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