søndag 6. februar 2022

All the Beijing snow is human-made -- a resource-intensive, 'dangerous' trend as planet warms

It would be hard to hold a conversation over the deafening sound of the snow machinespreparing the Olympic venues northwest of Beijing. They are loud and they are everywhere, blowing snow across what will be this month's most-watched slopes.

It is almost beautiful -- except that the venues are surrounded by an endless brown, dry landscape completely devoid of snow. In an Olympic first, though not an achievement to boast about, climate variability has forced the Winter Games to be virtually 100% reliant on artificial snow -- part of a trend that is taking place across winter sports venues around the world.

Just one of the 21 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics in the past 50 years will have a climate suitable for winter sports by the end of the century, a recent study found, if fossil fuel emissions remain unchecked. As the planet warms and the weather becomes increasingly more erratic, natural snow is becoming less reliable for winter sports, which forces venues to lean more on artificial snow.