Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change threatens Winter Olympics: Only six of previous Winter Games venues to be cold enough by late-century

Date:
January 23, 2014
Source:
University of Waterloo
Summary:
Only six of the previous Winter Olympics host cities will be cold enough to reliably host the Games by the end of this century if global warming projections prove accurate. Even with conservative climate projections, only 11 of the previous 19 sites could host the Games in the coming decades, according to a new study.

This is a chart showing former Winter Olympic locations that are climatically suitable for future games.
Credit: Daniel Scott, University of Waterloo

Only six of the previous Winter Olympics host cities will be cold enough to reliably host the Games by the end of this century if global warming projections prove accurate.

Related Articles


Even with conservative climate projections, only 11 of the previous 19 sites could host the Games in the coming decades, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo (Canada) and Management Center Innsbruck (Austria).

"The cultural legacy of the world's celebration of winter sport is increasingly at risk," said Professor Daniel Scott, a Canada Research Chair in Global Tourism and lead author of the study. "Fewer and fewer traditional winter sports regions will be able to host a Olympic Winter Games in a warmer world."

The study finds that internationally renowned Olympic sites, such as Squaw Valley (USA), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), Vancouver (Canada) and Sochi (Russia) would no longer have climates suitable to reliably host the Games by the middle of the 21st century. With additional warming projected for later decades of this century, as few as six former host locations would remain climatically suitable.

"This report clearly points out the challenges that lie ahead for the Olympics because of climate change," said Chris Steinkamp, executive director of Protect Our Winters and who was not involved with the study. "It's particularly powerful to see how past Olympic host cities could be impacted under a higher emission scenario, so hopefully this will serve as a wake up call to the IOC and world leaders that major commitments to carbon reductions need to be made."

The need for weather risk management strategies by Olympic organizers has intensified as the average February daytime temperature of Winter Games locations has steadily increased -- from 0.4°C at Games held in the 1920-50s, to 3.1°C in Games during the 1960-90s, and 7.8°C in Games held in the 21st century.

"Today it would be difficult to imagine successfully delivering the diverse Games program exclusively on natural ice and snow, as it was in the early decades of the Olympic Winter Games," said Dr. Robert Steiger of the Management Center Innsbruck.

Weather risk management will become even more important in the coming decades with average February temperatures in past Winter Olympic host locations expected to warm an additional 1.9 to 2.1°C by mid-century and 2.7 to 4.4°C in late century.

The study found that the success of the Games is often partially attributed to favourable weather, while poor weather is highlighted as one of the greatest challenges faced by Olympic Organizing Committees. Weather affects the ability to prepare for the Games and can directly impact outdoor opening and closing ceremonies, fairness of outdoor competitions, spectator comfort, transportation, and visibility and timing of television broadcasts.

The study also examines how technological advancements and strategies developed over several decades have been used to manage weather risk at the Winter Olympics. Technology like snowmaking, track/jump refrigeration and high-resolution weather forecasting are now critical components of staging a successful Winter Games.

"Despite technological advances, there are limits to what current weather risk management strategies can cope with," said Professor Scott. "By the middle of this century, these limits will be surpassed in some former Winter Olympic host regions."

The study provides an important opportunity for reflection on the long-term implications of global climate change for the world of sport and the world's collective cultural heritage symbolized by the Olympic Movement. It also reveals that for some cities and regions interested in hosting a future Winter Olympics, the time to bid for the games might be sooner than later.

Report: https://uwaterloo.ca/news/sites/ca.news/files/uploads/files/oly_winter_games_warmer_world_2014.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Waterloo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Waterloo. "Climate change threatens Winter Olympics: Only six of previous Winter Games venues to be cold enough by late-century." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140123075709.htm>.
University of Waterloo. (2014, January 23). Climate change threatens Winter Olympics: Only six of previous Winter Games venues to be cold enough by late-century. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140123075709.htm
University of Waterloo. "Climate change threatens Winter Olympics: Only six of previous Winter Games venues to be cold enough by late-century." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140123075709.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A new study of nearly two decades of satellite data shows Antarctic ice shelves are losing more mass faster every year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — Aerial footage from KOMO shows several homes near a landslide in Washington. KOMO reports that at least one of the homes has been damaged. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 25 Oklahoma counties after powerful storms rumbled across the state causing one death, numerous injuries and widespread damage. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — At least four people have been killed by severe flooding in northern Chile after rains battered the Andes mountains and swept into communities below. Rob Muir reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins