Snow shortages on Europe’s ski slopes to worsen

At current rates of greenhouse gas emissions, 90% of Europe's ski resorts will eventually face critical shortages of natural snow, a new study suggests

Aug 31, 2023

A scientific study published this week projects that over half of Europe’s ski resorts will face a severe lack of snow if temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while nearly all would be affected by an increase of 4 degrees - presenting challenges for the industry and policymakers, and threatening a harsher reality for ski lovers.

Key takeaways

At this lower temperature threshold, ski spots at higher altitudes and latitudes such as in Nordic countries and the French, Swiss and Austrian Alps can reduce climate risk through mechanical snowmaking;

But this will be of little use to resorts further south and in lower altitudes, according to the study, the first to factor in the cost and carbon footprint of consuming additional energy and water to produce manufactured snow;

From the Rocky Mountains to the Alps, ski resorts - especially those at or below 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) - already experience foreshortening skiing seasons and declining ski conditions, with snow sometimes replaced by rain.

Scientists predict that the planet could see its first full year at or above 1.5C within a decade.

Get the full story at Nature

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