“IPCC perspectives on ski tourism and climate change”

Introduction to the Climate services relevant to ski tourism webinar

Samuel Morin, Director of the Snow Research Center (CEN) at Meteo France, Grenoble (France)

Ski tourism is both driving climate change, due to the associated greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation, housing and ski resorts operations, and threatened by its impacts and risks. Across IPCC Reports, including the “Mountain” chapter of the Working Group 2 IPCC 2nd Assessment Report (Beniston et al., 1995) until the latest Special Reports on 1.5 Global Warming (SR15) and Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), ski tourism has been addressed within increased levels of details. The Summary of policymakers of IPCC SROCC (2019) provides the following statements relevant to ski tourism and climate: “High mountain aesthetic and cultural aspects have been negatively impacted by glacier and snow cover decline (e.g. in the Himalaya, East Africa, the tropical Andes) (medium confidence). Tourism and recreation, including ski and glacier tourism, hiking, and mountaineering, have also been negatively impacted in many mountain regions (medium confidence). In some places, artificial snowmaking has reduced negative impacts on ski tourism (medium confidence).” In terms of future changes and risks: “High mountain tourism, recreation and cultural assets are projected to be negatively affected by future cryospheric changes (high confidence). Current snowmaking technologies are projected to be less effective in reducing risks to ski tourism in a warmer climate in most parts of Europe, North America, and Japan, in particular at 2°C global warming and beyond (high confidence).”. It is also stated that: “Diversification of tourism activities throughout the year supports adaptation in high mountain economies (medium confidence).”

Over the past decades, knowledge and tools have been developed to better quantify climate change impacts to ski tourism operating conditions, especially in Europe and North America, and underpin dedicated climate services tailored to this economic sector. Such services are increasingly relevant to the needs of the ski tourism industry, and increasingly used to raise awareness on the relationships between ski tourism and climate change (drivers and impacts). They also provide information, which can directly be used to contribute to the design and implementation of climate change adaptation strategy for this industry.

The webinar “Climate services relevant to ski tourism” brings together leading experts in climate services development and climate change impacts to ski tourism, along with innovative solutions to better anticipate decisions for snow management in ski resorts and, therefore, increase their resilience against climate change while reducing their environmental footprint through optimized use of critical resources (water, energy). The webinar will provide a comprehensive overview of the state of knowledge regarding climate change risks to ski resorts operations, and introduce existing and emerging services used to inform climate change adaptation in mountain destinations (including diversification of the tourism offer) and to better manage snow on ski pistes along the snow season.

IPCC report: here

More information about other speakers on the webinar’s agenda.