Sochi Warmth Part of Global Pattern

February 12, 2014

Washington Post:

There are plenty of Olympic Games during which it would be no big deal to walk a few blocks from the teeming sporting venues and find dozens of locals sunning themselves on the beach, or a man taking a lazy dip in the sea. Those however, are typically of the Summer Olympics.

On Monday, that sun-splashed scene occurred on the shores of the Black Sea, a hard slap shot from the gleaming arenas of the 2014 Winter Games, where organizers were finding it challenging to keep the ice from melting. And it occurred perhaps 40 miles from the Sochi Games’ “mountain cluster,” where the warm weather forced organizers of the skiing events to cancel some training runs and shift others from day to night.

Through four days of competition, the 2014 Sochi Games are on track to be the warmest Winter Olympics in history, which actually is no surprise.

But even that description doesn’t do justice to Monday’s weather along the coast, where — brace yourselves, Washingtonians — the high reached 61 degrees, which for comparison’s sake, was warmer than Monday’s forecast highs for Atlanta, Austin, Birmingham, Ala., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. After a brief cool-down Tuesday, with a forecasted high of 51, temperatures could be back in the low 60s Thursday.

NYTimes:

The planet has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s, and as a result, snow is melting. In the last 47 years, a million square miles of spring snow cover has disappeared from the Northern Hemisphere. Europe has lost half of its Alpine glacial ice since the 1850s, and if climate change is not reined in, two-thirds of European ski resorts will be likely to close by 2100.

The same could happen in the United States, where in the Northeast, more than half of the 103 ski resorts may no longer be viable in 30 years because of warmer winters. As far for the Western part of the country, it will lose an estimated 25 to 100 percent of its snowpack by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curtailed — reducing the snowpack in Park City, Utah, to zero and relegating skiing to the top quarter of Ajax Mountain in Aspen.

The facts are straightforward: The planet is getting hotter. Snow melts above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The Alps are warming two to three times faster than the worldwide average, possibly because of global circulation patterns. Since 1970, the rate of winter warming per decade in the United States has been triple the rate of the previous 75 years, with the strongest trends in the Northern regions of the country. Nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000, and this winter is already looking to be one of the driest on record — with California at just 12 percent of its average snowpack in January, and the Pacific Northwest at around 50 percent.

3 Responses to “Sochi Warmth Part of Global Pattern”

  1. rayduray Says:

    Protect Our Winters (POW) spokesperson Gretchen Bleiler is interviewed about winter and climate change.

    http://protectourwinters.org/#sthash.FGvCrbrt.dpbs

  2. neilrieck Says:

    Okay so this week the temperature was higher in Sochi Russia than it was in Georgia, USA. At first this sounds really bad until you realize that Sochi is as far from the North Pole as the French Riviera is. Yep, the real purpose of of these winter Olympics is to develop a vacation-resort business in Russia. On the flip side, two weeks ago it was warmer in Alaska than it was in Alabama and this shows how lopsided a warming client has become. Science tells us that environmental heat is currently going into the oceans so, for a time, we will see more much more melting.


  3. […] SKI JOURNALIST:  (Feb 2014) “Europe has lost half of its Alpine glacial ice since the 1850s, and if climate change is not reined in, two-thirds of European ski resorts will be likely to close by 2100. The same could happen in the United States, where in the Northeast, more than half of the 103 ski resorts may no longer be viable in 30 years because of warmer winters. As far for the Western part of the country, it will lose an estimated 25 to 100 percent of its snowpack by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curtailed — reducing the snowpack in Park City, Utah, to zero and relegating skiing to the top quarter of Ajax Mountain in Aspen.” […]


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