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COVID-19 lockdown measures reveal human impact on water transparency in the Venice Lagoon

Authors: Braga, Federica; Scarpa, Gian Marco; Brando, Vittorio Ernesto; Manfè, Giorgia; Zaggia, Luca;

COVID-19 lockdown measures reveal human impact on water transparency in the Venice Lagoon

Abstract

The lagoon of Venice has always been affected by the regional geomorphological evolution, anthropogenic stressors and global changes. Different morphological settings and variable biogeophysical conditions characterize this continuously evolving system that rapidly responds to the anthropic impacts. When the lockdown measures were enforced in Italy to control the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 infection on March 10th 2020, the ordinary urban water traffic around Venice, one of the major pressures in the lagoon, came to a halt. This provided a unique opportunity to analyse the environmental effects of restrictions to mobility on water transparency. Pseudo true-colour composites Sentinel-2 satellite imagery proved useful for qualitative visual interpretation, showing the reduction of the vessel traffic and their wakes from the periods before and during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. A quantitative analysis of suspended matter patterns, based on satellite-derived turbidity, in the absence of traffic perturbations, allowed to focus on natural processes and the residual stress from human activities that continued throughout the lockdown. We conclude that the high water transparency can be considered as a transient condition determined by a combination of natural seasonal factors and the effects of COVID-19 restrictions.

Highlights • Lockdown measures in Venice restricted the mobility and stopped boat traffic, with a consequent decrease of wake waves. • An unprecedented water transparency in the city canals was determined by the absence of local boat traffic, however turbidity remained at usual levels in wind conditions. • Essential activities like fisheries and port traffic continued through the lockdown period thus revealing the extent of their impact on the lagoon ecosystem.

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Italy
Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Visual interpretation Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Natural (archaeology) Environmental monitoring Satellite imagery Water transparency business.industry Environmental resource management Environmental science Water quality business

Keywords

Satellite Imagery, Environmental Engineering, Water transparency, Pneumonia, Viral, Article, Betacoronavirus, Vessel traffic, Nephelometry and Turbidimetry, Water Quality, water transparency; suspended sediments; Sentinel-2; vessel traffic; satellite imagery, Humans, Environmental Chemistry, Human Activities, Pandemics, Waste Management and Disposal, Suspended sediments, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Pollution, Italy, Sentinel-2, Coronavirus Infections, Environmental Monitoring

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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
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