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Cultural heritage
Cultural heritage - Conserving our common legato
“Strengthening the foundations of our knowledge of the effects of climate change on Europe’s cultural heritage sites so as to build reliable scenarios and strategies to combat future problems.”

The problem

Europe’s historical buildings are likely to suffer greatly from the effects of climate change over the coming century. Alterations in temperature and rainfall, increases in extreme climatic events, and changes in soil conditions and water levels will affect the way ancient structures decay. However, it is difficult to assess accurately the overall risk climate change poses using existing data, while predicting the way these global changes will affect our cultural heritage remains a huge challenge.

NOAHSARK  Defending cultural heritage against climate change


NOAHSARK will use modern science to underwrite Europe’s cultural heritage. It will:

  • Find out which meteorological parameters are most critical to Europe’s historical buildings
  • Research, predict and describe how climate change will affect this built environment over the next 100 years
  • Develop strategies to protect structures that are likely to be worst affected
  • Provide models and tools – such as web-based climate risk maps – to heritage managers so they can assess the threat posed

Contribution to policy development:


  • Help put cultural heritage protection issues onto the sustainable development policy agenda
  • Provide a valuable input into the EU’s environment action programme, especially relating to climate change and quality of life issues
  • Help link work carried out in air quality and climate change programmes

Project deliverables

  • Model to assess the effects of global changes on different materials – September 2005
  • Predictions for future climate conditions in Europe and web-based climate risk maps – May 2006
  • A vulnerability atlas showing the potential impact of intense rainfall, increases in temperature, storms etc., on buildings and their contents – February 2007
  • Guidelines on the adaptation of cultural heritage site to climate change – April 2007, May 2007


  • Project brochure for scientists, conservators and policy-makers – May 2004
  • Website – Throughout project
  • Stakeholder seminar – January 2007
  • Final report – May 2007

Technical information

Project acronym: NOAHSARK
Project’s official full title: Global climate change impact on built heritage and cultural landscapes
Research priority: Protection of cultural heritage and associated conservation strategies
Specific webpage: Not yet available
Proposal/contract no: 501836
Start date: 1/05/2004
Kick off meeting: Not yet available
Completion date: May 2007
European Commission scientific officer: Johanna Leissner (

Name: Consilgio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto do Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima
Abbreviated name: CNR.ISAC
Address: Via Godetti 101
40129 Bologna
Country: Italy
Tel: +39 051 6399572
Fax: +39 051 6399649


Name: Centre for Sustainable Heritage, University College London
Abbreviated name: UCL
Country: United Kingdom

Name: School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Abbreviated name: UEA
Country: United Kingdom         

Name: Swedish Corrosion Institute
Abbreviated name: SCI
Country: Sweden

Name: Instytut Katalizy i Fizykochemii Powierzchni
Abbreviated name: ICSC
Country: Poland

Name: Institute for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
Abbreviated name: ITAM
Country: Czech Republic

Name: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiologia
Abbreviated name: CSIC.IRNAS
Country: Spain

Name: Norwegian Institute for Air Research
Abbreviated name: NILU
Country: Norway

Name: Ecclesiastical Insurance Group
Abbreviated name: EIG
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Biología y Medio Ambiente
Abbreviated name: BMA
Country: Spain