Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Will Outdoor Skating Rinks Survive Anthropogenic Global Warming?

Observed decreases in the Canadian outdoor skating season due to recent winter warming (8 page pdf, Nikolay N Damyanov, H Damon Matthews and Lawrence A Mysak, Environmental Research Letter, Mar. 5, 2012)

Also discussed here: Outdoor skating rinks threatened by climate change(Canadian Press, Mar. 5, 2012)

Today we review a scientific paper that examined the length of the outdoor skating season (OSS) in Canada as a result of climate warming during the winter over the last 50 years which has been more than 2 deg C greater than expected from anthropogenic warming alone. The result is that the OSS has become shorter in all regions except, ironically, in hockey’s home in Nova Scotia. With future warming, because of climate change , there is even the prospect of outdoor hockey rinks disappearing altogether, a sobering thought for many Canadian sport enthusiasts (and Russians who likely would see the same trend).

skating rinks
Key Quotes:

“The ability to skate and play hockey outdoors is a critical component of Canadian identity and culture”

“Since 1950, winter temperatures in Canada have increased by more than 2.5 deg C, more than three times the globally averaged warming attributed to anthropogenic global warming.. In addition to the trend towards overall milder Canadian winters, studies indicate that the frequency, duration and intensity of winter cold spells have decreased in most of Canada since the 1950s”

“[start of the Outdoor Skating Season] three consecutive days where temperatures do not exceed -5  deg C as being representative of the minimum requirements for initiation of an outdoor skating rink.”

“[end of the Outdoor Skating Season] total number of days with a maximum temperature below -5 deg C after the OSS start date, and before the beginning of March”

“a warmer winter caused by climate change is restricting outdoor ice rinks from operating …Regions that are being hit the hardest are the Prairies, southeastern British Columbia and southern Ontario and Quebec…looked at how many days in January and February were cold enough to skate on backyard or community rinks built on the ground or snow.”

“In the absence of efforts to maintain artificially cooled outdoor rinks, this result implies a foreseeable end to outdoor skating in this region within the next few decades. While other Canadian regions have not seen such dramatic decreases, we nevertheless expect outdoor skating throughout Canada to be significantly negatively affected in the coming decades by continued anthropogenic global warming.”
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