A report published by the European Geosciences Union has revealed that the Alps will lose 70% of snow cover by the end of the century due to climate change.
But what does this mean for the alpine travel industry?
Unless humans manage to keep global warming below 2°C, the period when snow is deep enough for winter sports will be dramatically cut.
We will lose 30% of snow cover by the end of the century – regardless of meeting global warming targets.
The research used ALPINE3D to simulate how snow is distributed in mountainous regions, finding that if emissions aren’t cut, winter sports will only be possible above altitudes of 2500m.
The simulation warns that the quarter of ski resorts that sit below 1200m will recieve no continuous snow by the year 2100. That is, unless drastic measures are taken.
Even in resorts located at higher altitudes, depths of snow will be 40% less, dramatically impacting tourism.
As well as impacting the tourist industry, the impact of global warming on the ecology, water irrigation and power production in the surrounding area will be devestating.
Lead-author of the findings, Christoph Marty explains: ‘The Alpine snow cover will recede anyway, but our future emissions control by how much.
‘Since temperatures are clearly increasing simultaneously we may experience increasing rainfall and not snow fall.
‘We hope our results convincingly show that even increasing winter precipitation cannot compensate for the effect of the strongly increasing temperatures.’
With experts dubbing even the 2°C target too ambitious. Therefore, it seems the snow-capped mountains will be bare in years to come.
Some of the main and most popular Ski resorts in the alpine regions are:
- Zermatt, Switzerland.
- Courchevel, France.
- Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
- Courmayeur, Italy.
- Kitzbühel, Austria.
- Val d’Isère, France.
- Lech Zürs am Alberg, Austria.
- St. Moritz, Switzerland.
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