Risk Mapping Tool for Cultural Heritage Protection

Risk assessment and sustainable protection of Cultural Heritage in changing environment

The Risk Mapping Tool for Cultural Heritage Protection has been initially designed and implemented in the framework of the Interreg Central Europe project “ProteCHt2save - Risk assessment and sustainable protection of cultural heritage in changing environment”, completed in June 2020 and geared towards policy and decision makers in support of the identification of risk areas and vulnerabilities for cultural heritage in Central Europe exposed to extreme events linked to climate change.

The ProteCHt2save main purpose was to contribute at improving capacities of the public and private sectors to mitigate the impacts of climate change and natural hazards on cultural heritage sites, including monumental complexes, historic buildings and archaeological sites in urban and coastal areas.
The project focused primarily on the development of feasible and tailored solutions for building resilience of cultural heritage to extreme events linked to climate change by supporting regional and local authorities to prepare measures and evacuation plans in case of emergencies.

In relation with these purpose, the online tool (WGT) was conceived with the final aim of interactively visualize risk maps of Central Europe, with high spatial resolution. The maps developed for the WGT show the changes of specific climate parameters and extreme indices for 2 historical periods (1951-1980 & 1987-2016) and under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios for 2 future 30-year periods (2021-2050 & 2071-2100) with respect to the reference historical one (1976-2005).
The mapped indices, selected among the 27 ones set by the Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI), refer to the following extreme events: heavy rain, flooding, drought and extreme heating.
Therefore, the obtained maps describe how and where the possible changes related to these phenomena will affect the area of Central Europe and its heritage.

An upgraded version of the WGT is currently being developed in the framework of the ongoing Interreg Central Europe project “STRENCH - STRENgthening resilience of Cultural Heritage at risk in a changing environment through proactive transnational cooperation”, started in March 2020, that enjoy the capitalisation of 9 EU Project outputs and specifically implemented in order to produce strategies for CH protection to be integrated into plans for Disasters Risk Reduction in line with the 4 Priorities of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
In this context the WGT has been specifically tailored and enforced in order to propose ready-to-use solutions such as climate hazard maps and methodology for vulnerability ranking of cultural heritage, including landscape.
The new-fangled WGT for Risk Mapping will contribute in particular to the Sendai Priority 4 (Enhancing disaster preparedness and “Build Back Better”) by making available climate hazard maps generated applying satellite services, measure-oriented database on the criticalities of CH and intervention priorities to strength resilience to disasters.
Specifically, the use of Copernicus services and its integration in the WGT constitute a notable innovation that will deliver a direct impact to the management of natural and cultural heritage sites, with high potentiality to be scalable to new sectors under threat by climate change.


The today’s WGT integrates additional contents:


Earth observation data, mainly from Copernicus services (C3S climate reanalyses ERA5 and ERA Land)

addressed to calculate

additional climate extreme indexes in addition to the previous ones

in order draw-up

a new set of high spatial resolution (10x10 Km) climate maps at seasonal timescale to study extreme changes in temperature and precipitation in Central Europe and Mediterraean Area from 1979 to 2019

and evaluate the possible evolution of

natural hazards due to climate change (flash flood, windstorm and landslides, in addition to heavy rain, flood of large basin and fire linked to drought periods)

for risk assessment of

new cultural heritage categories (cultural landscapes, historic parks, archaeological sites and small ruined villages in mountain and coastal areas)


to give useful case histories testing the WGT for the new case studies in STRENCH.