Many places in Italy experienced extreme weather at the end of October 2018 and our school remained closed because of the severe conditions. This tragic event helped raise awareness and get us involved with the climate change issues. The team analysed the long-term weather data of Vicenza (Italy) to look for year-to-year variations. Firstly, the team extracted numerical data from images of historical publications (Annali Idrologici). After this long and patient work, the students performed data analysis and made graphs to easily visualize the year-to-year trend. The first part of our project took us a lot of time, so we had to limit our analysis to Vicenza, our town. As a consequence, our conclusions are limited to year-to-year variations. In order to look for climate changes we should expand our analysis on a larger area, such as the Po valley. The team also investigated the climate issue in the laboratory, using classroom resources prepared by ESA to understand better the overall effects of global warming. We reproduced the greenhouse effect and learned about some of the consequences of an increased greenhouse effect – ice melting and changing albedo values.
We performed a long term comparison of the temperature and precipitation data and described the analysis by graphical means. To obtain the raw rata, we converted into digital format historical weather measurements of Vicenza from 1924 to 2004 and retrieved 2010-2018 data online from professional sources . As a reference, we selected the 1924-1987 period according to previous studies . Since the data source was not homogenous and continuous, we did not perform any statistical tests. Since 1924 weather stations have moved and instruments have changed from manual to automatic: differences may not be reflective of real changes in the underlying climate signal. Moreover, monthly data have not always 100% completeness of daily measurements and we didn’t have a second source of data to fill the gaps. However, our analysis suggests that in Vicenza annual mean temperature has an increasing trend and freezing days count is trending down compared to the reference period. When we compare the precipitation data, only the count of rainy days seems to decrease but not the annual amount of rainfall. To conclude, our data suggest that Vicenza annual mean temperature is increasing and more extreme weather precipitations happen. 1: http://www.arpa.veneto.it/bollettini/storico/Mappa_2018_TEMP.htm?t=VI 2: http://www.arpa.veneto.it/temi-ambientali/climatologia/approfondimenti/cambiamenti-climatici
Actions to help lessen the problem
During the analysis, the team realized that in order to study the climate, long term weather data are needed. Weather stations history of Vicenza is quite spotty: from 1917 to 2004 weather data measurements have been collected from a weather station. Then, the original one has been removed and replaced with a new station under the control of a different institution (ARPAV), but it has been installed in a new location. A second weather station was under the Meteorological Service of the Italian Air Force supervision, but was uninstalled with the closure of the “Dal Molin” Airport. The latter allowed weather data collection from 1951 to 2008. To provide accurate and multiple weather measurements in Vicenza and to continue the historical data series from the Airport weather station, we will ask the city mayor to reintroduce the dismissed station. We hope to have a chance of success because the area is under renovation and a huge park will be built. We have also shared the digital weather data with a local meteorological society, “Serenissima meteo”, so that their meteorologists can easily compare modern weather data with historical ones and it has been already done during these weeks of exceptional cold and rainy weather.
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