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Climate Change and Cultural Heritage in the Nordic Countries

image of Climate Change and Cultural Heritage in the Nordic Countries

The project Effects of Climate Change on Cultural Heritage Sites and Cultural Environments is a collaboration between the cultural heritage administrations of seven Nordic countries: Iceland, Greenland, the Faeroe Islands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. The aim of the project has been to assist the cultural heritage administrators in meeting the anticipated climate change and to strengthen collaboration and network building between the Nordic cultural heritage administrators. The publication Climate Change and Cultural Heritage in the Nordic Countries contains the main results of the project's work. The report consists of two parts, part one of which discusses the anticipated effects of climate change on cultural heritage sites and cultural environments in the Nordic countries. Part two addresses what consequences the climate change will have for the management of heritage sites and includes the project group's recommendations for handling these consequences.

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Effects of climate change on built heritage

The climate subjects the built environment to impacts such as humidity, temperature fluctuations and wind. All building materials will be subject to deterioration over the course of time and climatic conditions will be of decisive significance for the rate at which this occurs. Climate change associated with global warming will therefore influence the conservation conditions for cultural heritage buildings and other cultural heritage sites in a built environment. How biological, physical and chemical decomposition processes can be expected to be affected is discussed in sections 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3. A warmer climate also means that the permafrost in Arctic regions will melt and that the sea level will rise. This could impact on the built environment in the affected areas and is the subject of sections 1.4 and 1.5 respectively. In addition to the gradual changes that occur over long periods, climate change will also mean more extreme weather events. This could lead to acute damage to buildings and structures of cultural heritage value, something that is discussed in section 1.6.

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