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Can we save World Heritage Sites from climate change ?

World heritage sites are increasingly at risk from the effects of climate change. In this episode of Climate Now we see how managers at Prussian King Frederick the Great's palaces and gardens are working to adapt to rising temperatures, ever-increasing heatwaves and occasional heavy rain.

First, let’s take a look at the Copernicus Climate Change Service which confirms that globally we just had the hottest August on record, with temperatures 0.7 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average.

It was also the hottest season from June to August on record. August saw heat waves in Portugal, Italy, France, North Africa, and across the central and southern United States.

The heat waves hit the oceans, too. The lines on the graph above show daily global sea surface temperatures every year since 1979.

Since the early 1980s there has been a marked rise, but the red line for 2023, indicates the sea surface is over half a degree on average warmer than previous years - another new record high.

Moving on to Antarctica, where it's wintertime, we can see that sea ice concentrations were below average in large areas shaded in red on this map.

There was also a record low for August in terms of sea ice extent - the measure of areas where at least 15% of the ocean is frozen.

Antarctic sea ice extent has been at unprecedented low levels since May this year.

And now, back to our story and the world heritage site of Sanssouci Palace and Gardens in Potsdam, Germany.

Europe has many historic gardens and palaces, landmarks that were built to last - but can they survive in the face of accelerating climate change?

In the 18th century, this estate was Frederick the Great's summer playground - the Prussian king named it Sanssouci - a place "without a care".