A Proposed model for understanding the impacts of climate change on tangible cultural heritage

Başkan, Emine Gizem
The increasing influence of climate change on tangible cultural heritage in the 21st century has been recently recognized as one of the main threats to cultural heritage. Therefore, studies dwelling on the anticipated impacts of changes in the climate parameters are relatively new. This study covers the current debate on the anticipated impacts of climate change on tangible heritage. It presents a forecast on how climate change may affect physical, chemical and biological deterioration mechanisms and which traditional materials of construction may be affected and in what way. Thus, a methodological approach was proposed in an effort to guide heritage professionals in view of climate change. To this end, different databases including the inventory of the historic buildings in Turkey and the projection maps, which are the outcomes of Noah’s Ark Project and show the anticipated changes in the amplification mechanisms, were gathered by employing ArcGIS 10 software. The overlay maps were produced and evaluated from the perspective of Turkey to determine the cities, which are likely to be under the risk of different deterioration mechanisms that were anticipated to change over the century, and are rich in cultural heritage assets. After determining the case study area as Bursa, Muradiye Complex, the heritage map was produced and then the climate data series of the selected weather stations and periods were obtained. These data series were vi reclassified to make a trend analysis. Besides, heritage-climate risk maps were produced by employing ArcGIS10 software according to the selected materials and threshold combinations of temperature and relative humidity values. These maps were evaluated to understand the risk level of prevalent deterioration mechanisms. Then, archival records on the remediation processes to address defects of the buildings in the complex were gathered. The latest survey drawings of the buildings were used to calculate the surface areas of various deterioration types. Moreover, a field survey based on observations was conducted and photos were taken. At the last stage, the findings were compared with each other to interpret the prolonged defects and their relationship with climate parameters and/or inaccurate repairs. The study reveals that the historic environment in Bursa and so the cultural heritage of Turkey have been facing particular threats derived from changing climate parameters. Therefore, the aim is to provide a model to reevaluate short, medium, and long term strategies to manage the effects of these threats to render tangible heritage more resilient in the time of climate change.