Alpine ski resorts could see 70% less snow by 2099 due to climate change

Published on : Wednesday, February 22, 2017

skiLatest research about climate change show that snow in the Alps make grim reading for skiers and snowboarders.


According to a study done by the European Geosciences Union, the Alps could lose as much as 70 per cent of their snow cover by 2099 as temperatures rise due to increased greenhouse gas emissions.


The ski season may also start up to a month later and finish up to three months earlier, and the snow line may be up to 1,000m higher.


This winter the Alps suffered a very slow start to the season for the third year in a row, with December skiers sliding down ribbons of artificial snow surrounded by green pastures. But the snow did inevitably arrive in January and the latest research shows that skiers and snowboarders in Europe were generally enjoying excellent mid-season conditions, with fresh snow under sunny skies in the February half-term weeks.


The worst-case scenarios show almost no snow below 1,200m by 2099 – many resorts have lower base villages and slopes than this. Many also have higher slopes, but if global warming doesn’t slow down, Alpine slopes reaching up to 3,000m or more could have 50 per cent less snow by the end of the century.


This could have an adverse effect on the economy, as 90 per cent of the country’s economy depends on winter tourism.


Ski resorts have responded to a growing need to limit the effect of unpredictable weather by investing in state of the art snowmaking that can create snow in warmer temperatures.


The study’s best-case scenario predicts what will happen if emissions continue to be controlled, and are halved by 2050. This would keep global warming below 2ºC and loss of snow cover down to 30 per cent or less at the end of the century.

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