Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s ski industry faces continuing problems due to climate change

Snowy retreat: Climate change puts Australia’s ski industry on a downhill slope, SMH, Peter Hannam, 8 Aug 17 Australia’s ski resorts face the prospect of a long downhill run as a warming climate reduces snow depth, cover and duration. The industry’s ability to create artificial snow will also be challenged, scientists say.

Resorts are also going to become more reliant on big snow dumps such as this weekend’s blizzard – after a poor start to the season – as the frequency of smaller, top-up snowfalls diminish.

A snow retreat has been observed for half a century, with rising temperatures rather than reduced precipitation to blame, according to a major CSIRO-Bureau of Meteorology report. Under high greenhouse gas emissions pathway, snow at lower-elevation sites such as Mt Buffalo could all but disappear by 2050.

Warming springs have led to stark impacts at the end of the ski season. Early October snow depths fell 30 per cent during the 2000-13 period compared with 1954-99, a separate study in 2015 found.

Snow is a “threshold variable”. A slight temperature rise can turn snowflakes into rain that washes away, rather than adds to, snow cover.

That’s why all climate projections point in one direction, says Tom Remenyi, a researcher at the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. It’s both “encouraging and terrifying” that observations have matched models, giving researchers confidence about their bleak predictions, he said…….

Snow guns are becoming less efficient as humidity rises, reduce output of artificial snow by as much as 70 per cent as they ice up, Dr Remenyi said.

New “snow factories” have been introduced to Mt Buller and Mt Selwyn in Victoria, and more are likely. They create ice shavings with longer durability than gun-fired snow.

But warming temperatures will raise costs to maintain artificial snow cover, Dr Remenyi said. A study he helped write on the potential impact of climate change on Victoria’s resorts found that “by 2020- 2030 conditions suitable for snowmaking are projected to decline substantially”………..

‘Fragile ecology’

And as the NSW Nature Conservation Council notes in a new study on the effects of a warming planet, impacts in alpine regions aren’t restricted to humans’ winter pastimes.

The endangered pygmy possum, for instance, has had its range shrunk to a little as 10 square kilometres.

“The wildlife that lives in the Australia snowfields are at the front line of global warming because they are so sensitive to rising temperatures and changed snowfall patterns,” Kate Smolski, council chief executive, said.

“If deep, long-lasting snow cover disappears, the fragile ecology of snowfields will unravel because the plants and animals that live there have nowhere else to go.”   http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/snowy-retreat-climate-change-puts-australias-ski-industry-on-a-downhill-slope-20170804-gxp74h.html

Advertisements

August 9, 2017 - Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: