In our city and in our region, summers can be really hot. The Po valley, northern Italy, is boxed between Alps and Appennines, two major mountains chains, that leave open for winds only the eastern direction. Usually high pressure brings high humidity, and high pollution levels, CO and PM10, in our highly industrialized city. Car traffic is often forbidden inside the main centers. The rise of average temperatures has been constantly observed in the last 50 years. As teen agers we can’t remember temperatures in the past summers, our parents confirm the trend. In the last 8/10 years extreme events have been experienced in our region, flooding autumn 2014, big snow February 2012, we can remember these events. For this reason, we decided to investigate the available temperatures in the last years and pollution levels, and check whether a clear increase could be detected, whether a relation between high pressure, temperatures and pollution can be observed. We got a great help from Modena University, ARPAE (Regional Environment Agency), two local organizations that helps companies face the climate changes, CAP and AESS Modena, the Municipality of Modena. Then we decided to take action, in the school and in the city.
We asked the University of Modena, Geophysics Observatory for some help. Prof. Lombroso provided us with the temperatures recorded in Modena from 1861, the year when Italy was reunited! We could get the data in a spreadsheet, made some graphs, our teacher helped us to find the interpolation straight line, and we could find a trend of maximum temperature raising, not only during the summer. Moreover, we get more days with temperatures below zero, which means we get more extreme events. Additionally, we are experiencing drought in some months, and peaks of rains in others. ARPAE, The Regional Agency for the Environment, helped us to get and analyze pollution data for Modena for CO and PM10, observing a strict relation between warm or hot temperatures, stable high pressure and increase in PM10 (not in CO). They gave us also temperatures maps. Our teacher helped us to retrieve data from Copernicus satellite webpage, on temperatures in Modena. He showed us also a little bit of Phyton coding to modify provided data programs. With all this under our eyes we could see a clear trend on temperatures, pollution, local extreme events.
Actions to help lessen the problem
The trend shows average temperatures increase, correlation with PM10 pollution. Extreme events are now more frequent in Modena. The History of data is clear, when data available. We decided to take action, starting from our school building. We asked The Municipality a report about the energy used, the energy needed and possible economies for CO2 emission. Surprise: we found out we could reduce our CO2 emission by 75%, on a small budget. The report is in Italian, we translated the most important part. We found out that a non-profit local organization, CAP Modena, is taking part to Life Iris European Project, to Improve Resilience in Industry Sector to Climate Changes www.lifeiris.eu. They didn’t have any education section, now WE are the educational part of their project. We got in touch also with AESS Modena, Agency for Energy and Sustainable Development, active in climate change issues, and now we are working with them as educational reporters. Thanks to this project, we will stay active with climate changes issues in the future. Sofia even wants to become a climate scientist. In June we will setup a stand in the last school day, to increase awareness about climate change in our school.
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