Climate change set to worsen snow shortages on Europe's ski slopes, says study

© Fabrice Coffrini, AFP file photo

At current rates of greenhouse gas emissions, which would see Earth's surface warm nearly three degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, 90 percent of Europe's ski resorts will eventually face critical shortages of natural snow, researchers said Monday.

Even if the world caps global heating at the Paris climate treaty target of 1.5 degrees Celsius -- a very big if -- a third of the continent's 2,234 resorts would still be highly vulnerable to snow scarcity, they reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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.

Earth's surface has, on average, already warmed 1.2C, amplifying extreme weather across the globe.


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