Will Climate Change Melt Future Winter Olympics?

Winter Olympics

by | Jan 27, 2014

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Winter OlympicsJust six of the previous Winter Olympics host cities will be cold enough to host the Games by the end of this century if climate projections prove accurate, according to a study from the University of Waterloo (Canada) and Management Center Innsbruck (Austria).

Squaw Valley (US), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), Vancouver (Canada) and Sochi (Russia) are among the Olympic sites that would be too warm to have winter-sport friendly climates by the middle of the 21st century, according to The Future of the Winter Olympics in a Warmer World.

The $12.2 billion winter tourism industry in the US experienced an estimated $1 billion loss and up to 27,000 fewer jobs from 1999 to 2010 because of diminished snowfall patterns, according to a 2012 study prepared for the Natural Resources Defense Council and nonprofit group Protect Our Winters.

Warming temperatures — projected to increase 4 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century if climate change goes unchecked — mean snow depths in the west could decline by 25 to 100 percent, according to the study by University of New Hampshire researchers. This would halve the northeast’s winter snow season.

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