Another 'Vinerism', or just a snow job?


Arcalís (Photo credit: .Robert.)

From the FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology  and the snowfalls are now just a thing of the past department comes this press release, one much like those we’ve heard before that have not come to pass.

Maybe the researchers never saw this video from 2010 of massive snowfalls in Spain

Climate change could cause massive losses in Pyrenees ski resorts

An increase in temperatures due to climate change could mean that the Andorran ski resorts have a shorter season in the future, especially in lower areas. A study undertaken by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the Andorran Sustainability Observatory has analysed the specific case of the Pyrenean country and predicted that financial losses could come close to 50 million euros.

One of the major challenges when studying climate change effects is to establish the relationship between physical impacts and environmental changes on the one hand, and between these factors and impact on humans on the other hand.

An international study enjoying the participation of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia has investigated the particular case of Andorra and has demonstrated a predicted increase in temperatures as a result of climate change will shorten the ski season in the resorts of the principality.

Furthermore, depending on the predicted climate change scene, a fall in income has been predicted along with lesser adaptation capacity provided by snow production machines.

Published in the ‘Climate Research‘ journal, the study estimates a reduction in the number of skiers, especially in lower altitude resorts.

The mountain regions are considered especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. “The rapid decrease in glacier mass, quantity and frequency changes of snowfall, level variations and biodiversity distribution are examples of how mountain ecosystems are highly sensitive,” as explained to SINC by Marc Pons from the Sustainability Measuring and Modelling Laboratory of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the Andorran Sustainability Observatory and coauthor of the study.

Andorra is a small country in the middle of the Pyrenees between France and Spain with a population of approximately 80,000 inhabitants. It receives 10 million tourists each year according to data from Andorra Turisme 2010, especially during the winter season. Snow tourism is one of its main sources of income used for local development.

The study analysed three ski resorts in the principality: Grand Valira, Pal-Arinsal and Arcalís. And it is based on three possible scenarios as a consequence of climate change: the current situation and two possible future conditions.

Out of the last two, the first considers an increase of 2 ºC in the average winter temperature whereas the second is based on an increase of 4 ºC.

“We have employed these temperature increase figures based on two of the scenarios from the SRES report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which are predicted as plausible for the Pyrenees at the end of the 21st century,” states Pons.

The estimations have allowed them to analyse possible consequences, such as reduction of the ski season over time, the subsequent decrease in the number of skiers and thus what they would spend when visiting the region.

The importance of attitude

In the study, the altitude of skiable terrain is “one of the most determining factors in the vulnerability of the resorts,” adds Pons. An assessment was made of the future snow cover of each one of the tourist resorts at various altitudes: 1500 metres, 2000 metres and 2500 metres.

Pons adds that studying different altitudes “is important to analyse the capacity of the resorts to compensate for climatic variability by using artificial snow production.” He outlines that in recent decades, “resorts have invested significant amounts of money in artificial snow production.”

In the case of Andorra, around 50% of the ski zones are covered by such snow production systems.

In addition, the researcher explains that there are “a great variety within the same region, which means that two resort groups now arise: those that are more vulnerable and those that are resilient, like Arcalís.”

More specifically, if the temperature were to increase by 2 ºC in winter, only the lowest areas of Pal-Arinsal would be affected and the ski season would be shortened by 30%. This would mean a reduction in the number of skiers and investment in the region would be very small.

In contrast, in the case of a 4 ºC increase, the three tourist resorts would suffer from serious reductions in their lower altitude areas, where even the snow production machines could not even help to save the ski season. Nonetheless, the higher areas would remain stable throughout the season.

Delicate Pal-Arinsal and privileged Arcalís

The most critical of situations would be that of Pal-Arinsal, which could not even continue even with snow production machines. On the other hand, Grand-Valira and Arcalís would carry on, although with a shorter ski period.

In this context, a 15% decrease would be recorded in visitors with losses of approximately 50 million euros each season. In this case the resorts receiving the most visitors (Pal Arinsal and Grand Valira) would be affected both at the very beginning and at the end of the season.

Nonetheless, “aside from the figures themselves, the most important factor is the capacity to relate to physical changes,” adds Pons.

The researcher points out that despite the influence of altitude, “there are other determining factors, such as orography and orientation, which have a strong influence and therefore should be considered in future studies.”

This type of study helps governments to acquire deep and detailed knowledge on areas or resorts that are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the range of possible impacts and what adaptation measures are more suitable for each specific area.”


Referencia bibliográfica:

Marc Pons-Pons, Peter A. Johnson, Martí Rosas-Casals, Bàrbara Sureda, Èric Jover. “Modeling climate change effects on winter ski tourism in Andorra”. Climate Research.

65 thoughts on “Another 'Vinerism', or just a snow job?

  1. They would have a lot less trouble…..if they would stop making a mockery of science and a fool of themselves

  2. So no reported analysis yet on the increase in Summer visitors, encouraged by the prospect of a warmer, sunnier climate?

  3. Remember only just a few years ago, hearing the Cypress mountain and the winter olympics had no snow due to global warming? Here is the latest alpine report for Cypress:
    New Snow – Mid Mtn. (Over Night): 4 cm
    New Snow – Mid Mtn. (24 hrs): 13 cm since 2 PM yesterday; 3 cm since 9:15 AM this morning
    New Snow – Mid Mtn. (7 days): 35 cm
    Total Snow Fall (Season): 757 cm
    Alpine Snow Conditions: Machine Groomed
    Snow Depth – Mid Mtn.: 375 cm

  4. “If we had some eggs we could have ham & eggs if we had some ham.”
    Might I add that if I had $500 million dollars I’d be rich.
    If the oceans boil away or the Antarctic melts due to CAGW, then we’ll certainly be in a pickle.
    harrumph! and a good night to all.
    P.S. to zootcadillac – nice pics. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Record global snowfall records here in British Columbia the last couple of years {after the olympics} and far below seasonal temperatures. Absolutely arctic conditions across mid Canadian provinces {-50 c} and continuing blizzard conditions on our east coast.

  6. Surely skiing must qualify as a flippant and unnecessary use of fossil fuels. I am sure that the ski resorts will gladly extinguish themselves as a sacrifice to save the planet from CAGW (Curiously Absent Global Warming).

  7. What doesn’t make sense makes dollars for someone
    McCleans third rule of egonomics…………

  8. As the NAO goes into its negative phase, moisture that had been diverted into Norway and increasing their glaciers will now be redirected to southern Europe. These Global warming studies never incorporate the oscillations, only CO2 warming. But [perhaps] that’s because the models do such a poor job with the NAO, ENSO and PDO. I guarantee it will indeed be another “Vinerism”.

  9. I did it and you can too.
    Do a search for ski resorts in the Pyrenees.
    See how much snow they have.
    Hint… lots

  10. Snow would be a thing of the past if it wasn’t for the magical ability of CO2 to cause extreme weather. You see, the snow that falls these days is not “normal” snow. It is “extreme weather” snow. There’s a BIG difference. /sarc

  11. Magic 8 ball is cheaper and more accurate, Spain being broke, I see a small way to help their beleaguered taxpayers.

  12. An increase in temperatures due to climate change could mean that Michael Mann could get dandruff … then again maybe not.

  13. LOL especially since Andorra, they have now 65cm of snow starting at 1500m and over 150cm at 2000m according to Meteo France
    @ferd berple, yes it was so funny to listen to Suzuki and all the alarmist clowns from UBC and SFU using the lack of snow on Cypress Mountain during the 2010 Olympics as proof of climate change… Since then the longest season, the earliest opening etc…

  14. I was once in Andorra in July. Unbelievably fricking cold when the sun went down. Hardly anyone there and the duty free shops that line the main street were all empty of customers.
    Were it warmer, it would boost summer tourism.

  15. The political warmistas in Washington State were trying to sell that kind of hokum 10 years ago. Local politicians were claiming that Federal dollars will be needed to help the local skiing industry. Almost every year since then we have had greater than normal snowfall at the ski resorts. This year the Olympic mountains have received nearly double the average snowfall and the North Cascade Mountains have about 50% more snow than average.
    Despite this, we went and elected a warmista, former congressman Jay Inslee, as governor of our state. The news media is worthless when it comes to reporting failed warming predictions.

  16. The heading ‘The importance of Attitude’ should read ‘Altitude’ surely as it then goes on about the altitude of various resorts.

  17. Ah yes. We are having record snowfalls, but wait. When it melts it will be claimed the floods are due to Global Warming all the while claiming runoff will decrease due to Global Warming. Any takers on a bet? (Actually this has already been published so it’s a done deal.)

  18. From the release:

    An increase in temperatures due to climate change could

    I could win the lottery tomorrow. That is not evidence.
    Now, my problem is that I was told, in no uncertain terms, by R. Gates that global warming meant more snow. Now I’m being told it could mean less snow. Mr. Viner said less snow for the UK, yet they are now getting more snow. Less, more, I’m getting confused.
    In the meantime global temps have flatlined and are cooling slightly. Less snow??

  19. “Climate change could cause massive losses in Pyrenees ski resorts” Could??? Yeah.And if the hare hadn’t stopped for a cr&p in the woods,then the fox wouldn’t have caught him. I firmly believe that these doomsayers of climate are suffering from a mental disease. No other way to explain it.

  20. Results in last week after the hottest decade on the record. 🙂

    January 17, 2013
    The place to be at the moment is the Pyrenees.There is yet more snow coming down in the Alps this week and winter is back with a vengeance. Check out our updated snow report as the snow keeps coming. PlanetSKI has been in the Austrian Tirol.
    Reports from the Pyrenees are mouthwatering.
    The main image comes from the Grand Valira ski area in Andorra.
    By Wednesday evening up to 1m had fallen in the resorts of the French Pyrenees.
    One email we have received from a reader claims 1.5 meters.

  21. I do wish they would stop moving the goal posts. After ‘snowmageddon’ in the US East Coast 2010 the response was that ‘snow was expected with global warming’. Dr Viner as we know made the opposite assertion. So which is it? Or is the position of the AGW goal posts just altered to where reality has sent the ball?

  22. Hey, what about increased agricultural yields from longer growing seasons if the climate gets warmer? Surely that hypothetical increase in income should be balanced against the hypothetical loss of skiers’ tourist dollars? It’s the easiest thing in the world to cherry pick situations that would get worse and ignore situations that would get better.

  23. Wayne Delbeke says:
    January 27, 2013 at 12:50 am
    Ah yes. We are having record snowfalls, but wait. When it melts it will be claimed the floods are due to Global Warming all the while claiming runoff will decrease due to Global Warming. Any takers on a bet? (Actually this has already been published so it’s a done deal.)
    Do you mean the global warming of [1947],

  24. Great ski conditions in Europe again this year. Last year we skied in France and I recall having a heated debate about Global Warming with a warmist while the snow fell outside in huge amounts.The next morning we struggled to get to the slopes due to the sheer volume of snow and the maximum temperature was -25C. We didn’t debate CAGW again that week.

  25. A bit off topic but interesting,
    Expert predicts ‘Monsoon Britain’ (7 May 2008)
    Prof. Lane, who publishes his research in the current edition of the academic journal Geography, set out to examine the wet summer of 2007 in the light of climate change. His work shows that some of the links made between the summer 2007 floods and climate change were wrong.
    Our current predictions of climate change for summer should result in weather patterns that were the exact opposite of what actually happened in 2007.
    Prof. Lane shows that we have forgotten just how normal flooding in the UK is. He looked at seasonal rainfall and river flow patterns dating back to 1753 which suggest fluctuations between very wet and very dry periods, each lasting for a few years at a time, but also very long periods of a few decades that can be particularly wet or particularly dry.

  26. Perhaps these people can explain the new airport built at Llieda to accommodate the winter sports trade in the nearby Pyrenese.
    My daughter lives in the Iberian Highlands and the local snow ploughs are working this minute clearing the roads. At least the Spanish know how to use these things unlike us in the UK who wait for 6ins of snow cover before trying to clear anything and failing.

  27. I noted the use of “could,” as Jimbo did.
    “If” you accept a temperature rise as your premise, “then” indeed certain results will occur. However “if” your premise fails to come about, “then” all your research is only so much idle wondering.
    RE: ZootCadillac says:
    January 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm
    Thanks for sharing your local pictures of English snows. I pasted them on my obscure site so friends can see, on this side of the pond. Here in New England we have only a little snow, but that exposes the ponds and brooks to the cold. A solid week of below zero (F) wind-chill has frozen a little brook on my land right to the bottom, and little kids scoot down the brook on their stomachs like otters, through a twiggy tunnel made of overarching brush.

  28. A loss of $50m? That’s nothing !! Look at what that Cameron has wasted, Oblarny, and the whole EU. £50m? peanuts. Let’s have more global warming, I’m freezing.

  29. With something like is it 60% youth unemployment in Spain, if he can get some of them jobs producing stuff like this for Government, then good luck to him. It’s up to Government to decide what’s worth having.
    I’m sure a lot of serious work and professional dedication went into the study. It’s just a pity about the improbable premises on which much of it was based (IPCC).

  30. More Alarmo-science based on IPeCaC pseudoscience based on carboncentric gee-whiz climate Xbox fantasies. How refreshing.
    It really is about attitude. Their attitude is one of; “how can we keep this CAGW gravy train rumbling along at least a bit longer?”

  31. I got as far as “An increase in temperatures due to climate change…” Which dosn’t make sense. A change of temperature might be a climate change. But implying that the latter somehow causes the former is putting the cart before the horse.

  32. Just checked a few websites of ski resorts in the Pyrenees. 180cm bases. I don’t really see a problem…

  33. Paul:
    Great selection of pictures.Here in northern Massachusetts we have had a week where the temperature has not gone above 32F, with nighttime temps in the single digits. The air is amazingly dry – at night, I can see moisture crystallizing under cloud free skies. The previous weeks were above average. This is weather and not untypical for this area of the country.

  34. The main threat to European ski areas is the self-inflicted gushing economic wounds of all the CAGW craziness – a trillion dollars or so worth of windmills and solar at 80c a kWh.

  35. Where do they find these false winter gurus. They look back a decade or two only and think that they know the future .
    . A David Suzuki Foundation report issued just before the 2010 Olympics predicted that the average ski season in Quebec will be cut in half in only 10 years.
    Montreal are just had the record snowfall beating the old 1971 figure.
    David Phillips of Environment Canada recently said , “The lesson for this is if you get one (a white Christmas): Embrace it, enjoy it because it is something that future generations will have (to) be dreaming a little harder to get. We know the future is warmer and with less snow.”
    Most of Canada is covered in snow. I noticed that all of Canada had temperatures below zero last week with some as low as -40C
    A climate consulting firm predicted that the Toronto region snow fall would drop by 110.5 cm from 153.8 cm in the next 30 years by 2040
    Toronto had 216 cm of snow in 2008

  36. Here in the west end of Newcastle (55 deg North) we had an accumulation of 15″ of the stuff, it is now thawing. Had I listened to Viner, when I changed my car in April I would have bought another rear wheel drive saloon that would have sat in the garage for the last week next to my wife’s Mercedes. Fortunately I bought an Audi with 4 wheel drive which had no problems in the snow or ice.
    The other big advantage of the snow is it keeps the BBC quiet about climate change!

  37. Just flew over the Pyrenees yesterday, and they look whiter than I have seen them in a long time. (Been flying over them for 30 years).

  38. Viner not only stands by his fail predictions, he claims to be a Nobel Prize winner!:
    “Nobel Peace Prize winner to deliver climate change talk
    The subject of climate change will be up for discussion at Anglia Ruskin University on Monday, 23 January when environmental expert and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr David Viner will deliver a talk”

  39. As others have pointed out, the biggest threat to the Ski Resorts is the lack of a paying clientele due to no jobs or money from imploding central planned economies and “Green Jobs” (that, one presumes, are green due to sitting in the box mouldering…)

  40. Isn’t the President of Andorra paid, as part of his salary, his own weight in potatoes once each year? If agriculture is impacted, he might have to lose some weight or there will be food supply consequences.

  41. It’s as if the last 16 years never happened. These ‘scientists’ are asleep at the wheel.
    Oh, Anthony, you made a typing error re: A study undertaken by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia……
    A study undertaken by the Polytechnic University of Catatonia….
    …there. Fixed it for you!

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