Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Are the Winter Olympics at Risk because of Global Climate Warming?

The Future of the Winter Olympics in a Warmer World(8 page pdf, Daniel Scott, Robert Steiger, Michelle Rutty, Peter Johnson, University of Waterloo, Jan. 22, 2014)

Also discussed here: Climate Change threatens Winter Olympics(University of Waterloo, Jan. 22, 2014)

And here: Climate change could see Winter Olympics melt away, warns new study(Robert Myles, All Voices, Jan. 28, 2014)

We review today an article which examined the climates of the 20 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics over the last 90 years, finding that only 10 would qualify by 2050 and 6 by the end of this century because of global climate warming and despite advances in technology. Indicators used in the analysis included the capability of maintaining a 30 cm snow base for skiing (60 cm is better) and the number of rainy days, both an issue at the Vancouver Olympics in 2008. Of course, the public and its political leaders could wake up before then and reduce carbon emissions, 80% of which occur in cities addicted to cars.

 winter olympics and cl ch  

Key Quotes:

“should predictions of global warming prove accurate, just six of the previous Winter Olympics host cities could be relied on to be sufficiently chilly for them to host future games come 2100.”

“Fewer and fewer traditional winter sports regions will be able to host an Olympic Winter Games in a warmer world.”

 “The cultural legacy of the world’s celebration of winter sport is increasingly at risk,”

“Today it would be difficult to imagine successfully delivering the diverse Games program exclusively on natural ice and snow, as it was in the early decades of the Olympic Winter Games.”

“Despite technological advances, there are limits to what current weather risk management strategies can cope with. By the middle of this century, these limits will be surpassed in some former Winter Olympic host regions.”

“It's particularly powerful to see how past Olympic host cities could be impacted under a higher emission scenario, so hopefully this will serve as a wake-up call to the IOC and world leaders that major commitments to carbon reductions need to be made."
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