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The Olympic Winter Games (OWG) stands as a symbol of international cross-cultural exchange through elite-level sport. As a mega-event with a significant reliance on a specific range of weather conditions for outdoor competitions, the OWG have developed several technologies and strategies to manage weather risk. Can these climatic adaptations cope with future climate change? Based on an analysis of two key climate indicators (probability of a minimum temperature of ≤0°C, and probability of a snow depth of ≥30 centimetres with advanced snowmaking capacity), this paper examines how projected changes to climate will impact the ability of the 19 previous host cities/regions to provide suitable conditions for outdoor competitions in the future. The results indicate that while the 19 former OWG hosts all have a suitable climate in the 1981–2010 period, only 11 or 10 (low–high-emission scenarios) remain climatically suitable in the 2050s, with as few as 6 in the high-emission scenario of the 2080s. The analysis reveals that climate change has important implications for the future geography of OWG host cities/regions as well as broader implications for participation in winter sport.
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The future of the Olympic Winter
Games in an era of climate change
D. Scotta, R. Steigerb, M. Ruttya & P. Johnsona
a Department of Geography and Environmental Management,
University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo,
Ontario N2 L 3G1, Canada
b Tourism Business Studies, Management Center Innsbruck,
Weiherburggasse 8, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Published online: 25 Feb 2014.
To cite this article: D. Scott, R. Steiger, M. Rutty & P. Johnson (2015) The future of the Olympic
Winter Games in an era of climate change, Current Issues in Tourism, 18:10, 913-930, DOI:
10.1080/13683500.2014.887664
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2014.887664
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The future of the Olympic Winter Games in an era of climate change
D. Scott
a
, R. Steiger
b
, M. Rutty
a
and P. Johnson
a
a
Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, 200
University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2 L 3G1, Canada;
b
Tourism Business Studies,
Management Center Innsbruck, Weiherburggasse 8, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
(Received 14 January 2014; final version received 21 January 2014)
The Olympic Winter Games (OWG) stands as a symbol of international cross-cultural
exchange through elite-level sport. As a mega-event with a significant reliance on a
specific range of weather conditions for outdoor competitions, the OWG have
developed several technologies and strategies to manage weather risk. Can these
climatic adaptations cope with future climate change? Based on an analysis of two
key climate indicators (probability of a minimum temperature of 08C, and
probability of a snow depth of 30 centimetres with advanced snowmaking
capacity), this paper examines how projected changes to climate will impact the
ability of the 19 previous host cities/regions to provide suitable conditions for
outdoor competitions in the future. The results indicate that while the 19 former
OWG hosts all have a suitable climate in the 19812010 period, only 11 or 10
(lowhigh-emission scenarios) remain climatically suitable in the 2050s, with as few
as 6 in the high-emission scenario of the 2080s. The analysis reveals that climate
change has important implications for the future geography of OWG host cities/
regions as well as broader implications for participation in winter sport.
Keywords: Olympic Winter Games; climate change; sports tourism; mega-events;
weather risk
Introduction
The Olympic Winter Games (OWG) will commemorate its first centennial in 2024. Over
the past nine decades, this increasingly global celebration of winter sport has grown to
become one of the world’s mega-events. The economic, social and environmental
impacts of the OWG vary significantly from games to games and have been widely
debated (International Olympic Committee [IOC], 2012a; Mangan & Dyreson, 2010;
Wallechinsky & Loucky, 2010). Nonetheless, the international prestige of hosting the
OWG and positive Olympic legacy for host cities/regions that can result from massive
infrastructure investment by higher levels of government, economic development and
increased tourism can explain why cities/regions compete aggressively for the opportunity
to host the Olympics.
The OWG is a mega-event with a significant dependency on weather conditions.
Weather directly affects preparations for the games, outdoor opening and closing cer-
emonies, fairness of outdoor competitions, the ability to complete the full competition pro-
gramme, spectator comfort, transportation, and visibility and timing of television
#2014 Taylor & Francis
Corresponding author. Email: daniel.scott@uwaterloo.ca
Current Issues in Tourism, 2015
Vol. 18, No. 10, 913– 930, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2014.887664
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broadcasts. The success of the games has often been partially attributed to favourable
weather, while poor weather has been highlighted as one of the greatest challenges faced
by organising committees (Rutty, Scott, Steiger, & Johnson, 2014). While much of the
weather risk of historic OWG was overcome by moving competitions indoors, the specific
climate and terrain conditions required by the diverse outdoor winter sports that comprise
the OWG restrict the range of cities/regions that are capable of hosting the event.
Rutty et al. (2014) document the wide range of climatic adaptation strategies (e.g. tran-
sition of some competitions to indoor venues, snowmaking and advanced weather forecast-
ing) that have been developed over the last 90 years to manage weather risk at the OWG. The
need for weather risk management strategies by Olympic organisers has intensified, as the
average February daytime temperature of OWG locations has steadily increased – from
0.48C in the 1920– 1950s, to 3.18C in the 1960– 1990s, to 7.88C in games held in the
twenty-first century (Rutty et al., 2014). Indeed, it would be difficult to imagine successfully
completing the Olympic programme exclusively on natural ice and snow at the warmer host
locations of the early-twenty-first century, compared to the colder and decidedly more alpine
hosts of the early decades of the twentieth century. As weather-related impacts at recent OWG
clearly reveal, there are limits to what current weather risk management strategies can cope
with. These limits will be increasingly tested in a warmer world.
As the world comes together for the 22nd Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014, the
United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has begun to release
the findings of its fifth Assessment on global climate change. The first report (IPCC,
2013) documents the observed changes in the global climate system, including a 0.858C
warming in global average surface temperatures between 1880 and 2012 and continued
decline in Northern Hemisphere snow cover and glacier ice since the mid-twentieth
century. With even stronger scientific confidence, the IPCC (2013) concluded that the
‘human influence on the climate system is clear. ...(and) ... has been the dominant
cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century’. The IPCC (2013) also empha-
sises that human-caused global climate change has just begun, and depending on future
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, additional warming of global average surface tempera-
tures of 0.3 4.88C (relative to 1986 2005) is likely to occur by end of the twenty-first
century. Critically, the IPCC (2013) anticipates that additional warming in the winter
months will cause a further decrease in Northern Hemisphere snow cover and ice extent.
The implications of this projected climate change for winter sports and mega-events
such as the OWG are unmistakable. Several studies have demonstrated the potential nega-
tive impact of future climate change on outdoor winter sports (see Scott, Hall, & Go¨ssling,
2012 for a summary), but the implications of a warmer world for the OWG remains uncer-
tain. This paper assesses whether projected climate change represents a long-term risk to the
future viability of the OWG. Specifically, we examine which of the previous 19 host cities/
regions would continue to have a climate suitable to once again host the full outdoor
athletics programme of the OWG in the mid- to late-twenty-first century. Any differential
climatic suitability among past host cities/regions would have implications for the IOC’s
consideration of bids to host future OWG.
Literature review
The evolution of the OWG
The OWG is the world’s premier winter sporting event. This celebration of winter sport has
grown from a modest gathering of 250 amateur athletes from 16 countries competing in 16
medal events at the 1924 games in Chamonix, France, to over 2500 athletes, representing
914 D. Scott et al.
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82 countries, competing in 86 medal events at the 2010 games in Vancouver, Canada (IOC,
2013). The OWG has always attracted large numbers of spectators and international tourists
(Wallechinsky & Loucky, 2010), but has grown to become one of the world’s sporting
mega-events, with approximately 1.5 million tickets sold at each of the recent games in
Salt Lake City, USA and Vancouver, Canada (IOC, 2012a).
The OWG has undergone a radical transformation over the last 40 years, since the
decision to allow sporting professionals of all types to compete, promotion of the games
to the world through partnerships with media and commercialisation through a wide
range of private-sector sponsorships (Mangan & Dyreson, 2010; Preuss, 2004; Walle-
chinsky & Loucky, 2010). As a global mega-event, host regions and countries garner inter-
national prestige through the promotion of their natural and cultural heritage both genuine
and packaged as a tourism product (Garcia, 2008) during television broadcasts to a
worldwide audience of billions (e.g. the 2010 games reached 200 countries and a potential
audience of 3.8 billion people worldwide [IOC, 2013]). The worldwide media broadcast
revenues for the most recent games in Vancouver, Canada, exceeded US$1.2 billion
(IOC, 2012a). The increased economic value of the games has influenced the timing of
events, to better coincide with prime viewing times of the largest markets and broadcast
sponsors) and increased the salience of weather risk management strategies to ensure
both quality of conditions and timing of competitions (Rutty et al., 2014).
The OWG generates economic, social and environmental impacts on the host city and
region. These negative and positive impacts have been widely debated elsewhere (Mangan
&Dyreson,2010; Wallechinsky & Loucky, 2010). Negative impacts can include crowding
(Ritchie & Smith, 1991), price inflation (Ritchie & Aitken, 1984), increased crime
(Mihalik & Cummings, 1995) and long-term national or state/provincial government debt
(Preuss, 2004). Many examples exist of ‘white elephant’ sports infrastructure and large
public debt associated with hosting the Olympics. The IOC has become increasingly
mindful of these negative impacts and limits the qualifying host countries to those that
have the resources and infrastructure to successfully host an Olympic Games without nega-
tively impacting the region or nation. The IOC requires prospective cities/regions to include a
legacy plan in the bid proposal, to demonstrate the long-term economic, social and environ-
mental impacts the Olympics will have on the host region and has worked with host cities/
regions/countries to document the long-term legacies of the games (IOC, 2012a).
Although the overall economic benefit of hosting the Olympics varies significantly from
games to games, the Olympic legacy for host city/region is generally considered to be
positive. This is in part because higher levels of government (federal and state/provincial
levels) largely make the massive investment in infrastructure to host the games, leaving
much improved transportation systems, additional housing, and sporting and tourism
related infrastructure (Deccio & Baloglu, 2002; Gratton & Preuss, 2008; IOC, 2012b).
The stature of hosting an OWG also brings long-term business development and increased
tourism to host cities/regions (Bridges, 2008; IOC, 2012b; Jeong & Faulkner, 1996;
Madden, 2002; Ritchie & Smith, 1991; Smith & Stevenson, 2009). It is the promise of
these types of tangible economic and reputation benefits that drive cities and regions
from around the world to engage in the highly competitive and lengthy process of
bidding to host the OWG.
Climate change and vulnerability of winter sports
Concern about global climate change has increased worldwide and continues to feature pro-
minently in high-profile international policy debates. Reviews of international climate
Current Issues in Tourism 915
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change mitigation commitments conclude that the policy goal of restricting global warming
to below 28C is increasingly unlikely and the trajectory is towards a warming of +48Cor
greater by the end of the twenty-first century (Peters et al., 2013). Although the conse-
quences of climate change will vary geographically, it is inevitable that all nations and econ-
omic sectors will have to adapt to additional climatic change in the decades ahead. This has
led to an explosion of interest in climate change impacts and adaptation research (Adger,
Arnell, & Tompkins, 2005; Janssen, Schoon, Ke, & Borner, 2006; Stehr & von Storch,
2010).
With multiple sensitivities to climate and environmental changes, the outdoor sports
industry, associated tourism sectors and mega-events such as the OWG are no exceptions.
The rapidly growing literature on climate change and recreation/tourism (Becken & Hay,
2007,2012; Hall & Higham, 2005; Scott, McBoyle, Minogue, & Mills, 2006; Scott
et al., 2012) shows that the implications of climate change will vary by market segment
and geographic region, and that all tourism destinations will need to adapt to climate
change to minimise risks and capitalise on new opportunities, in an economically, socially
and environmentally sustainable manner (Scott et al., 2012). For time-limited and weather-
dependent mega-events, such as the OWG, the implications of climate change are even
more significant, as events have substantially less flexibility to adopt activity or time sub-
stitution adaptations.
The risks posed by climate change to snow-based sports/recreation, particularly the
large international ski tourism industry, have received considerable attention in the scho-
larly literature, government assessment reports and the media. The climate change vulner-
ability of the ski industry has been examined to some extent by over 30 studies in 13
countries (Scott, Go¨ssling, & Hall, 2012). This geographically and methodologically
diverse literature has consistently projected decreased reliability of natural snow cover,
shortened and more variable ski seasons, increased snowmaking requirements, contraction
in the number of operating ski areas, altered ski tourism revenues and employment, and
declining real-estate values of vacation properties. The extent and timing of these
impacts depend on the rate of climate change, the types of adaptation considered, and
the relative impact on competing ski tourism regions. International comparative analyses
of major ski markets have demonstrated that climate change risk is not evenly distributed
among or within regional ski tourism markets. Rather, they are specific destinations and ski
areas that are at risk due to a variety of climatological, operational and physical character-
istics (Scott & Steiger, 2013). This research points to a growing scarcity of specific environ-
mental conditions, coupled with infrastructural, economic and political criteria that could
support a mega-event, such as the OWG.
The current literature on mega-events, including the Olympics, points to limitations in
how environmental impacts are assessed and how environmental remediation and restor-
ation are implemented (Collins, Jones, & Munday, 2009; Laing & Frost, 2010). Despite
a high level of ‘environmentally friendly’ rhetoric from the IOC and strong integration
of environmental considerations into the bidding process (Cantelon & Letters, 2000), the
actual assessment of the environmental impacts of an event such as the Olympics
remains problematic (Collins et al., 2009). Dickson and Arcodia (2010) call for increased
inquiry into how events adopt sustainability policies, specifically outlining key failures of
the Olympic Games to consider environmental factors. As the global events sector remains
a significant contributor to climate change, the movement from consideration to actual
assessment and remediation of environmental impacts of the OWG is a needed initiative.
The declaration of the 2010 Vancouver OWG as ‘carbon neutral’, with carbon offset pro-
grammes and policies, stands as an initially foray into reconciling the overall climate and
916 D. Scott et al.
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environmental impacts of the OWG mega-event. With the implementation of climate adap-
tation technologies to ensure adequate conditions for Olympic competitions (Rutty et al.,
2014), the sustainability and environmental impact of future OWG is an area of pressing
research need.
Moreover, with the prominent role of snow and temperature-dependent sports at the
OWG, there is a clear relevance of sports and weather research for further understanding
the climate vulnerability of the games itself. Studies that have examined the impacts of
weather on Olympic sports (Borghesi, 2007; Koch & Panorska, 2013; Martin, 1996;
Peiser & Reilly, 2004; Verdaguer-Codina, Martin, Pujol-Amat, Ruiz, & Prat, 1995), cold
weather athletic performance (Buhl, Fauve, & Rhyner, 2001; Gould, Greenleaf, Chung,
& Guinan, 2002; Niinimaa, Shephard, & Dyon, 1979; Rammsayer, Bahner, & Netter,
1995) and winter tourism events (Scott et al., 2002; Scott, McBoyle, Minogue, & Mills,
2006) offer additional insights into how changing temperatures and snow conditions
could affect the performance of Olympic athletes and the comfort of spectators. This
study considers the insights from this body of work in the specific context of developing
climate change vulnerability indicators and adaptation strategies.
Snowmaking as a winter sports climate adaptation
The technical production of snow as a way to improve or guarantee snow conditions for
winter sports was first implemented in 1952 at a ski resort in the USA (Scott et al., 2012).
Snowmaking technology has since become nearly universally employed by ski areas through-
out Eastern Canada and the USA (Scott & McBoyle, 2007). Additionally, snowmaking is
widely adopted in all major ski regions of the world, including Western North America,
the European Alps, Japan, and Australia (Abegg, Agrawala, Crick, & De Montfalcon,
2007; Hennessy et al., 2008;Scott,2006). The implementation of snowmaking has substan-
tially reduced the vulnerability of these ski tourism markets to adverse weather and inter-
annual climate variability (Dawson & Scott, 2013;Hennessyetal.,2008; Scott, Dawson,
&Jones,2008; Scott, McBoyle, & Mills, 2003; Scott, McBoyle, & Minogue, 2007;
Steiger, 2010; Steiger & Abegg, 2013; Steiger & Sto¨tter, 2013). Lake Placid in 1980 was
the first OWG to introduce snowmaking, which allowed alpine events to run on schedule
despite the worst snow drought in the eastern USA since 1887 (Lake Placid, 1980). Since
the late 1980s, snowmaking capacity has been mandatory for OWG competition sites.
Methods
Indicators for assessing the impact of climate change on the OWG
To assess which of the 19 locations that have formerly hosted the OWG would have a
climate suitable to potentially host future games in the mid- to late-twenty-first century
under projected climate change, several climatic indicators important to winter sports com-
petitions were identified from the literature, and a content analysis conducted of the official
post-games report submitted to the IOC by each from the Organising Committee from 1924
to 2010. Warm temperatures, rain, storms, fog, heavy snowfall and lack of snow were
reported to have caused a range of impacts at the OWG outlined by Rutty et al. (2014).
As indicated, much of the weather risk of former games has been overcome by moving
many competitions indoors, leaving outdoor sports including alpine and cross-country
skiing, ski jump and others vulnerable to natural conditions. Here, we focus on lack of
snow and the presence of rain and warm temperatures. Other potentially relevant
Current Issues in Tourism 917
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weather conditions, such as fog, heavy snowfall and storms are not adequately represented
in global climate models, precluding local-scale projections. The indicators identified, with
their relevance to winter sports competitions, specifically to the OWG which are typically
held in the month of February, are summarised below:
(1) probability of average maximum temperature 108C in February maximum
temperatures above 108C cause substantial deterioration of snow and ice quality,
with a corresponding impact on durability (e.g. rutting) and fair/safe competition
surfaces (e.g. soft and slow ski surfaces), however the occurrence is typically
mid-day, so that scheduling of outdoor events can adapt, provided daily
minimum temperatures are below freezing;
(2) probability of average minimum temperature 08C in February when daily
minimum temperatures are above freezing, snow and unrefrigerated ice surfaces
continue to degrade and cannot refreeze overnight (snowmaking is not possible
either), which can hamper the preparation of high-quality surfaces needed for
elite competition and disrupt scheduling of competitions to ensure fair conditions
for athletes;
(3) number of days with liquid precipitation in February rain at low temperatures is
unpleasant for spectators and can also negatively impact snow and ice quality for
competitions;
(4) probability of sufficient snow base for skiing – sufficient snow depth is a precondi-
tion for snow-based competitions, especially alpine and cross-country skiing
(a minimum snow depth of 30 centimetresin smooth terrain and 60 centimetres
in rough terrain are identified in the literature Abegg, 1996; Scott, 2003);
(5) average natural snow depth on 1 February natural snow fall has historically been
a critical climatological factor for winter sports, but as snowmaking has become
standard operating practice at elite international skiing events, the salience of
this indicator for the operational feasibility of the OWG has declined and now is
largely an aesthetic indicator, where snow cover provides an environment specta-
tors would expect at the OWG;
(6) average snow depth with snowmaking on 1 February snowmaking has become
an integral technology to supplement natural snow fall at the OWG and the capacity
to make sufficient snow has supplanted natural snow fall as the key indicator of
operational feasibility for ski areas;
(7) number of snowmaking hours in January efficient snowmaking is considered
physically possible at temperatures below 258C and with advanced snowmaking
systems capable of producing a skiable snow depth of 10 centimetres of snow per
day (Scott et al., 2008; Steiger & Abegg, 2013) a minimum of snowmaking 72
hours is needed to open a ski slope with 30 centimetre base or 144 hours for a
60 centimetre base.
This list of potential indicators was refined in three stages. First, indicators that would not
prevent sporting competitions from taking place, but rather would require scheduling
changes and reduce the winter aesthetic of the games, were eliminated from the analysis.
These types of indicators included rainfall and natural snow fall/depth. Second, strong
cross-correlations were found between the remaining temperature-based indicators, for
example, where temperature thresholds also have important influences on precipitation
indicators (i.e. when daily minimum temperature is above freezing, a considerable
amount of precipitation falls as rain, further deteriorating snow and ice quality). These
918 D. Scott et al.
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indicators were considered as secondary to the critical requirement of minimum daily
temperatures of 08C. Lastly, indicators of snowmaking capacity and hours are again
not deemed as critical indicators, but rather as subsets of the critical indicator of prob-
ability of a snow depth of 30 centimetres with advanced snowmaking capacity.
Without this level of snow depth (whether natural or artificial), outdoor events would
not be possible.
These two indicators (probability of minimum daily temperatures of 08C and the prob-
ability of snow depth 30 centimetres with advanced snowmaking capacity) were deter-
mined to provide the greatest insight into the climatic suitability of a city/region to host
the OWG under current or future climate conditions. A previous host location was deemed
climatically reliable if both indicators were achieved in 9 out of 10 winters (90% prob-
ability). If one or both indicators were achieved in less than 75% of winters, the location
was considered unreliable for elite Olympic competitions. If one indicator was achieved
90% of winters and the other indicator was achieved only 75– 89% of winters, or when
both indicators were achieved 75– 89% of winters, the location was classified as marginal/
higher risk for the OWG. Each of the 19 former host locations was evaluated for its climatic
suitability in the baseline or current climate normal period (1981– 2010), as well as four future
climate change scenarios (low- and high-emission scenarios for the 2050s and 2080s).
Data sources
Three sources of data (climate station data, climate change scenarios, and snowmaking oper-
ations model output) were used to operationalise the final set of two climate indicators at
each of the 19 previous host cities/regions. Historic climate data were obtained from inter-
national (World Meteorological Organization) and national meteorological organisations
(Deutscher Wetterdienst, Zentralanstalt fu
¨r Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Meteo France,
Environment Canada, Meteo Swiss, Hydrografisches Amt Bozen and Arpa Piemonte). Fol-
lowing standard practice in climatology, 30-year periods (‘climate normal’) were defined for
each host city, representing average (i.e. ‘normal’) climate conditions over the time span.
Daily data were obtained from 1981– 2010, representing the baseline period for analysis.
For each past host city/region, meteorological stations were chosen according to two criteria:
(1) distance to host city or main competition sites, and (2) length and completeness of his-
torical climate data record. Emphasis was placed on selecting meteorological stations within
close proximity, due to the alpine nature of many host cities/regions and the need to accu-
rately represent local climate. The climate station selected and the elevation at which the cli-
matological analysis was conducted (i.e. station data were adjusted to the elevations of the
majority of competitions using standard lapse rates) are identified in Tab le 1.
Climate change scenarios for temperature and precipitation (monthly resolution) for
each of the 19 host city/regions were obtained from the Coupled Model Intercomparison
Project phase 5 (CMIP-5) (World Climate Research Program, 2013), which uses 24
global climate models to prepare simulations for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report
(Taylor, Stouffer, & Meehl, 2012). Scenarios for two future periods were used in the analy-
sis: 2041 2070 (referred to as the central decade of the ‘2050s’), representing climatic con-
ditions in the middle of the twenty-first century, and 20712100 (referred to as the central
decade of the ‘2080s’), representing late-twenty-first-century conditions. To consider the
possible range of future climates, the IPCC’s Representative Concentration Pathways
(RCP) emission scenarios were used, with RCP 2.6 representative of a low GHG emission
future and RCP 8.5 representative of a high-emission future. The range of projected temp-
erature change during the winter months (December January February) at each of the
Current Issues in Tourism 919
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Table 1. Climate stations and altitudes analysed at each OWG host city/region.
Host city/region Year hosted OWG Altitude (masl) Station name Station altitude (masl) Altitude analysed
a
(masl) Lat Long
Chamonix 1924 1042 Chamonix 1042 1042 46.62 7.47
St. Moritz 1928, 1948 1798 Segl Maria 1798 1798 46.16 9.77
Lake Placid 1932, 1980 591 Lake Placid 591 591 44.25 273.99
Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 719 Garmisch 719 719 47.48 11.06
Oslo 1952 1 Tryvasshogda
b
514 300 59.98 10.67
Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956 1211 Toblach 1219 1700 46.73 12.22
Squaw Valley 1960 1899 Tahoe City 1899 1899 39.17 2120.14
Innsbruck 1964, 1976 578 Innsbruck 578 1600 47.26 11.38
Grenoble 1968 384 Grenoble St. Geoirs 384 1600 46.15 6.10
Sapporo 1972 26 Sapporo
c
26 600 43.07 141.33
Sarajevo 1984 630 Sarajevo
d
630 1300 43.87 18.43
Calgary 1988 1048 Kananaskis Pocaterra 1610 1500 50.71 115.12
Albertville 1992 328 Chamonix 1042 2100 46.62 7.47
Lillehammer 1994 440 Venabu 930 200 61.65 10.11
Nagano 1998 419 Nagano
c
419 1500 36.67 138.20
Salt Lake City 2002 1288 Heber 1704 2300 40.49 2111.43
Turin 2006 240 Prerichard
e
1353 1900 45.08 6.72
Vancouver 2010 10 Whistler Alta Lake 658 800 50.13 2122.95
Sochi 2014 30 Krasnaya Polyana
d
568 900 43.68 40.20
a
The altitude analysed is that of the finish line of alpine skiing events held in each location (the most recent games, where a location has hosted the OWG more than once).
b
Missing data between 1976– 1998. Temperature was extrapolated with data from station Oslo Blindern (94 metres above sea level, 59.94, 10.72) with monthly temperature lapse rates
derived from periods with data at both stations. Oslo Blindern does not record precipitation, therefore missing precipitation data at Tryvasshogda were filled with precipitation data from
station Bjornholt (360 metres above sea level, 60.05, 10.69).
c
Daily snow depth data were not of sufficient quality for Nagano and Sapporo, therefore SkiSim snow model performance was tested against the average number of days with snow on the
ground (snow cover) and monthly snowfall, which were available from the Japan Meteorological Agency for the baseline period.
d
Snow depth data were not available, therefore standard SkiSim parameter values (based on previous model applications, e.g. Steiger, 2010; Steiger & Abegg, 2013) were used.
e
For this station, only data from 1992– 2011 were available. No suitable nearby station was available to fill this missed data period, so the analysis could only be conducted with a shorter
‘normals’ period.
920 D. Scott et al.
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Table 2. Projected winter (December, January and February) warming at each OWG host city/region.
Host city/region
DJF
a
Average Tmax
19812010
2050s 2080s
Low emissions
(RCP 2.6)
High emissions
(RCP 8.5)
Low emissions
(RCP 2.6)
High emissions
(RCP 8.5)
Chamonix 4.5 +2.58C+3.08C+2.48C+4.58C
St. Moritz 20.1 +4.18C+4.88C+3.98C+6.38C
Lake Placid 20.9 +2.28C+3.98C+2.28C+6.38C
Garmisch-
Partenkirchen
4.6 +4.18C+4.88C+3.98C+6.38C
Oslo 0.7 +1.38C+2.48C+1.28C+4.28C
Cortina d’Ampezzo 3.5 +4.18C+4.98C+4.08C+6.58C
Squaw Valley 6.0 +2.18C+3.18C+2.28C+4.78C
Innsbruck 6.0 +4.18C+4.98C+4.08C+6.58C
Grenoble 7.1 +2.68C+3.28C+2.58C+4.68C
Sapporo 0.0 +2.08C+3.08C+1.98C+5.08C
Sarajevo 4.9 +2.08C+2.78C+2.08C+4.48C
Calgary 2.6 +1.18C+2.48C+1.38C+4.38C
Albertville 7.3 +2.58C+3.08C+2.48C+4.58C
Lillehammer 22.5 +1.38C+2.48C+1.28C+4.28C
Nagano 4.3 +4.28C+5.38C+4.18C+6.98C
Salt Lake City 6.1 20.88C+0.98C20.78C+2.88C
Turin 9.7 +2.58C+3.08C+2.48C+4.58C
Vancouver 5.9 +1.18C+2.28C+1.38C+4.18C
Sochi 8.5 +3.68C+4.28C+3.68C+5.88C
a
December, January, February.
Current Issues in Tourism 921
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former OWG host locations is presented in Table 2. Given that the global climate models
used in CMIP-5 provide projections of climate variables at a spatial resolution of approxi-
mately 250 km, the climate change scenarios were downscaled to the climate station repre-
senting each former host location (Table 1) using the LARS stochastic weather generator
(Semenov, 2013; Semenov & Barrow, 1997; Semenov & Stratonovitch, 2010). This
weather generator produces synthetic weather time series on a daily basis, keeping the
characteristics of the individual weather stations.
Snowmaking and snow depth data were produced using SkiSim2 (Steiger, 2010), a ski
operations simulation model, that incorporates both natural snowfall and advanced snow-
making capacities. SkiSim (1.0 and 2.0) has been used extensively to investigate the
potential impact of climate change on the ski industry in North America (Dawson &
Scott, 2013; Scott et al., 2003,2006,2008; Scott & Steiger, 2013) and Europe (Steiger,
2010; Steiger & Abegg, 2013; Steiger & Sto¨tter,2013). SkiSim 2 uses a degree-day-based
snow model, with an integrated snowmaking module that allows for an analysis of the
impact of climate change on ski operations, including snowmaking potential, impact of
altitude on snow conditions (in 100 metre intervals) and snow rain precipitation classi-
fication (for details, see Steiger, 2010). Key climate data inputs for SkiSim2 include daily
temperature and precipitation. These variables were obtained from the historical climate
record of the station nearest to each former host location and were extrapolated from the
altitude of the particular climate station to the host city and main competition site alti-
tudes, using a standard winter lapse rate of 0.48C/100 metres (see Kunz, Scherrer,
Liniger, & Appenzeller, 2007 for Switzerland, or Steiger & Abegg, 2013 for Austria)
and 3%/100 metres for precipitation (Steiger, 2010). For some Olympic host cities,
snow-based competitions were held at multiple altitudes (e.g. the start and a finish line
for alpine skiing across several hundred metres of vertical terrain). In such cases, the
highest finish line was used to represent the altitude of the competition. This choice is
conservative with respect to the potential climate change risk, but reflects the potential
for host cities to develop infrastructure and hold events at higher altitudes as an adaptation
to poor snow conditions at a lower altitude.
Results
Figure 1 illustrates the probability that minimum daily temperatures in February were 08C
at each of the 19 former host cities/regions during the baseline period (1981–2010) and under
the low- and high-emission scenarios for the 2050s and 2080s. In the baseline climate (1981
2010), all locations have 90% probability of average daily minimum temperatures that
would remain below 08C. In the 2050s, between 8 (low-emission) and 9 (high-emission)
scenarios no longer fulfil this indicator of climate suitability. Locations such as Garmisch-
Partenkirchen (Germany), Vancouver (Canada) and Sochi (Russia) are projected to achieve
threshold in less than 75% of winters under the high-emission scenario and therefore are con-
sidered unreliable for hosting the outdoor sports programme of the OWG.
In the 2080s, the number of former host locations able to achieve this indicator 90%
of the time declines even further to between 9 (low-emission scenario) and 13 (high-emis-
sion scenario). Under the warmer high-emission scenario, three locations are projected
to achieve this threshold less than 50% of winters (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany;
Vancouver, Canada and Sochi, Russia), while several others have a probability less than
75% (Innsbruck, Austria; Squaw Valley, USA; Chamonix, France; Grenoble, France;
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Oslo, Norway).
922 D. Scott et al.
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The most critical factor for snow-based competitions, such as alpine, nordic and free-
style skiing, is a sufficiently deep snow base. The minimum snow base for alpine skiing
is 30 centimetres, which is sufficient for smooth slopes on alpine meadows and track
setting for classic nordic skiing on smooth trails. For alpine slopes with rocky surfaces,
much greater snow depths of up to 1 metre are required for safe operations. This analysis
Figure 1. Probability of average daily minimum temperature in February 08C.
Figure 2. Probability of snow depth with snowmaking 30 centimetres on 1 February.
Current Issues in Tourism 923
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utilised an optimistic requirement of only 30 centimetre snow depth to account for slope/
trial grooming (smoothening) as a possible adaptation strategy. Figure 2 illustrates the prob-
ability that a snow depth of 30 centimetres, with advanced snowmaking capacity, could
be achieved at each of the 19 former host cities/regions. Similar to the first indicator, in the
baseline climate (1981 2010), all locations achieved this operational threshold in 90% of
winters. Under projected climate change scenarios, some locations cannot guarantee a suf-
ficient snow depth despite advanced snowmaking, as temperatures become too warm to
produce enough snow. In the 2050s, three former host locations are projected to no
longer be able to produce a sufficient snow base by the beginning of February in 90%
of winters (Sochi, Russia; Squaw Valley, USA and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany).
The number of locations that can no longer fulfil this indicator of climate suitability for
snow-based sports competitions remains the same under the low-emission scenario for
the 2080s, but increased substantially to 11 under the high-emission scenario. Each of
these 11 locations are projected to achieve this threshold of snow base in less than 75%
of winters under the high-emission scenario, and are therefore considered unreliable for
hosting the outdoor sports programme of the OWG.
As previously noted, this analysis was conducted at the altitude of the finish line where
skiing events were previously held at each host location. A potential adaptation would be to
relocate competitions to higher altitudes, where this is physically feasible (i.e. ski slopes at
Figure 3. Probability of former host locations remaining climatically suitable for the OWG in the
2050s under climate change.
924 D. Scott et al.
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higher altitudes with a sufficient vertical drop for elite Olympic competitions). This adap-
tation was not considered here because the new elevation of the alpine slopes within an
acceptable distance to other games venues cannot be anticipated.
The two indicators were compared to assess the overall climatic suitability of past host
locations to reliably host future outdoor OWG competitions under changed climate con-
ditions. Figure 3 presents the probability that each of the 19 former host locations is projected
to achieve both indicators in the 2050s (Figure 3)and2080s(Figure 4) under low- and high-
emission scenarios. Locations that were able to achieve both indicators in 90% of winters
and classified as climate reliable are found in the upper right shading in Figures 3 and 4.Inthe
baseline period (1981– 2100), all former host locations were classified as climatically reliable
to host the outdoor competitions of the OWG. Despite some concerns about the climate
conditions at the recent host locations of Vancouver (Canada) and Sochi (Russia), both
were assessed to be climatically reliable using the indicators developed for this study,
supporting the IOC’s decision to award the games to these locations. A comparison of
Figures 3 and 4reveals that the number of past host cities/regions falling outside of the
reliable climate zone increases in both the 2050s and 2080s, particularly under higher emis-
sion scenarios. More locations become climatically marginal/higher risk in the 2050s because
of minimum daily temperatures exceeding 08C. The number of locations with one variable
being achieved in ,75% of winters (white area in Figures 3 and 4)areclassiedasnot
Figure 4. Probability of former host locations remaining climatically suitable for the OWG in the
2080s under climate change.
Current Issues in Tourism 925
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climatically reliable to host outdoor sports programme of the OWG, which visibly increases
in the higher emission scenario for the 2080s. This is because of the inability to produce suffi-
cient snow, even with advanced snowmaking.
Tab le 3 provides a summary of the climate suitability rating for each of the 19 former host
locations. In the baseline period (1981–2010), all locations were rated as climaticallyreliable.
In the 2050s, the number of climate reliable locations decreased to 11 in the low-emission
scenario and 10 in the high-emission scenario. The impact of projected climate change is
far greater in the late-twenty-first century, with the differential impact of the two GHG emis-
sion pathways particularly notable. In the low-emission scenarios for the 2080s, 10 of the
former host locations would still have reliable climate conditions. However, if the high-emis-
sion scenarios were realised, it is projected that less than one-third (six in total) of former host
locations would remain climatically suitable for the games. Interestingly, of the remaining
climate reliable locations under the highest emissions scenario, all global regions that have
previously hosted Olympics are represented (Western North America – Calgary, Canada
and Salt Lake City, USA; European Alps St. Moritz, Switzerland, Cortina d’Ampezzo,
Italy and Albertville, France; East Asia Sapporo, Japan).
Table 3. Climate suitability rating of host cities/regions for future OWG.
Host city/region
2050s 2080s
RCP 2.6
(low emission)
RCP 8.5
(high emission)
RCP 2.6
(low emission)
RCP 8.5
(high emission)
Albertville (F) Reliable Reliable Reliable Reliable
Calgary (CDN) Reliable Reliable Reliable Reliable
Chamonix (F) Marginalhigh
risk
Marginalhigh
risk
Marginalhigh
risk
Not reliable
Cortina d’Ampezzo (I) Reliable Reliable Reliable Reliable
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
(GER)
Not reliable Not reliable Not reliable Not reliable
Grenoble (F) Marginalhigh
risk
Marginalhigh
risk
Marginalhigh
risk
Not reliable
Innsbruck (A) Reliable Marginalhigh
risk
Marginalhigh
risk
Not reliable
Lake Placid (USA) Reliable Reliable Reliable Marginal– high
risk
Lillehammer (N) Reliable Reliable Reliable Marginalhigh
risk
Nagano (J) Reliable Reliable Reliable Not reliable
Oslo (N) Marginalhigh
risk
Marginalhigh
risk
Marginalhigh
risk
Not reliable
Salt Lake City (USA) Reliable Reliable Reliable Reliable
Sapporo (J) Reliable Reliable Reliable Reliable
Sarajevo (BIH) Marginal– high
risk
Marginalhigh
risk
Marginalhigh
risk
Not reliable
Sochi (RUS) Not reliable Not reliable Not reliable Not reliable
Squaw Valley (USA) Marginal high
risk
Not reliable Not reliable Not reliable
St. Moritz (CH) Reliable Reliable Reliable Reliable
Turin (I) Reliable Reliable Reliable Not reliable
Vancouver (CDN) Marginalhigh
risk
Not reliable Not reliable Not reliable
926 D. Scott et al.
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Conclusion
The confluence of the 22nd OWG and the release of the final two reports of the 5th IPCC
Assessment in early 2014 provide an important opportunity to consider the long-term impli-
cations of global climate change for the world of sport and the collective cultural global
heritage symbolised by the Olympic Movement. It is evident from the results of this analy-
sis that the many climatic adaptations employed by recent OWG Organising Committees to
manage the risks of weather-related disruption of outdoor competitions begin to reach the
limits of effectiveness at some locations under projected climate change. The capacity of
snowmaking to ensure adequate snow conditions (even a highly optimistic 30 centimetre
snow base) for ski competitions is a particular source of climate change vulnerability for
future OWG. As a result, the findings indicate that projected climate change would
adversely impact the capacity of approximately half of the former OWG host cities/
regions to host the games by mid-century.
This finding suggests that the IOC choice of Vancouver and Sochi to host recent games
may prove very fortuitous, as the climatic capacity of these locations to host the games by
mid-century is degraded, respectively becoming high risk and not reliable under even the
low-emission scenario. The differential vulnerability of former host cities/regions also
has implications for potential bids to host future OWG. For example, Munich, together
with sports venues at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, has considered a potential bid for the
2022 games, though this analysis indicates that Garmisch-Partenkirchen is not considered
to be climatically reliable by the 2050s. With the climatic capacity of this region to host the
OWG degraded by mid-century, climate change places greater impetus on a bid to host the
games over the next two decades.
Recognising that the format and technologies supporting winter sports in the later
decades of this century will clearly be different from today, they will nonetheless continue
to be founded on snow and ice as they have for the past 100 years. It is clear that the cultural
legacy of the world’s celebration of winter sport is at increased risk if the warmer climate
scenarios of the late-twenty-first century occur. With additional warming continuing in the
early-twenty-second century under a high-emission pathway, the number of former OWG
locations capable of hosting the games would continue to decline. In other words, in a sub-
stantially warmer world, celebrating the second centennial of the OWG in 2124 would
become increasingly challenging.
This analysis provides some initial insight into the implications of climate change for
the long-term future of the OWG, but raises several other research questions. With fewer
traditional winter sports regions climatically able to host OWG in a warmer world, will
the unifying cultural benefits be degraded? What are the broader implications for partici-
pation in winter sport and eventually participation by countries in the OWG? What other
regions of the world that have never hosted the OWG could replace the past host locations
that are anticipated to be no longer climatically suitable? Will new winter sports powers
and winter tourism regions develop in emerging markets? What are the long-term impli-
cations for the scale of the OWG as a mega-tourism and media event? Will the IOC need
to move away from recent decision to award the OWG to large/resort cities with nearby
mountainous areas capable of providing alpine skiing venues to more traditional, but
smaller, alpine cities? Are these smaller cities capable of once again hosting the OWG
given the tremendous growth in the number of athletes and spectators? Are there other
adaptation technologies that could overcome the climate change vulnerabilities identified
in this study? For example, could the development of truly artificial snow that is not temp-
erature dependent (as opposed to machine-made snow that physically responds to
Current Issues in Tourism 927
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temperature and solar radiation like natural snow) resolve the central remaining vulner-
ability of adequate snow for ski competitions?
The IOC has officially recognised the environment as the third integral dimension of
Olympism, alongside sport and culture. Since then, the OWG has shown leadership in
championing new technologies of the low-carbon economy, with no other major sporting
event being able to demonstrate carbon-neutrality for over a decade. This leadership
should be commended as it may foster other climate compatible mega-events and
tourism. Nonetheless, much more will be required of all nations if the goal of the inter-
national community is to limit the warming of global average temperatures to less than
+28C over pre-industrial times through a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy.
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... Exceptions do exist (see Scott, Steiger, Rutty, & Johnson, 2015). After examining the potential consequences of climate change on the Winter Olympics, Scott et al. (2015Scott et al. ( , 2019 concluded that the climate suitability of former host cities/regions will be drawn increasingly into question, as evidenced by the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics requiring entirely artificial snowmaking. ...
... Exceptions do exist (see Scott, Steiger, Rutty, & Johnson, 2015). After examining the potential consequences of climate change on the Winter Olympics, Scott et al. (2015Scott et al. ( , 2019 concluded that the climate suitability of former host cities/regions will be drawn increasingly into question, as evidenced by the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics requiring entirely artificial snowmaking. Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions is pressing if future Winter Olympics are to be sustainable. ...
... These three actions are hypothetical; however, online meetings and press conferences were utilised and the introduction of carbon pricing was discussed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, 2021). These actions also have the potential to contribute to reduced CO 2 emissions arising from event personnel accommodation, alongside wider responses toward net zero emissions that in the long run, can protect the climatic integrity of sports, destinations and host cities (Scott et al., 2015;Scott, Steiger, Rutty, & Fang, 2019). ...
... Second, a large majority of the studies (46 of 57) have been published since 2015, which coincides with the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC, 2014). Indeed, multiple articles referred to this and other reports published by the IPCC to provide the evidence of climate change (e.g., Kellison & Orr, 2020;Orr, 2020;Scott et al., 2015). This seems to indicate the key role played by the IPCC and its publications in drawing attention to the impact of climate change on organized competitive sport entities. ...
... As for the type of climate change impacts examined, 21 studies (36.8%) focused on heat (e.g., Cheung, 2018;Gerrett et al., 2019); whereas nine articles examined the impact of warmer winter and associated snow shortage Scott et al., 2015Scott et al., , 2019, three focused on seasonal shifts associated with climate change (e.g., Scott & Jones, 2006) and one focused on flooding (Palmer et al., 2014). In addition, 21 articles were classified into the multiple category, examining the combinations of climate changes, such as heavier rainfall, drier and hotter summer, and thunderstorms (Goggins et al., 2018); and heat, hurricane risk, and sea level rise . ...
... With the growth of sports events in terms of financial investments and participation over time, there is increased pressure from governing bodies, sponsors, fans, and the media for host cities to deliver their events exactly as promised, and on tight timelines . As climate change worsens and threatens to disrupt sports competitions (Orr, 2020;Scott et al., 2015Scott et al., , 2019, there is a growing need to proactively assess the potential threats facing host cities so that risks can be minimized through technological adaptations, new facilities, or policy options (some options listed above in Sections 3.2.3); or avoided altogether by changing the host city. ...
Article
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The relationship between sport and the environment has been primarily examined to understand how sport impacts the natural environment. However, as the influence of climate change has become more apparent, there is a need to establish a systematic understanding of the impacts of climate change on the operations of sport. The aim of this review is to take stock of existing literature on climate change's impacts on organized competitive sport entities, with further attention paid to their adaptation efforts. A scoping review was conducted to identify relevant studies published between 1995 and 2021. After evaluating more than 2100 publications, we retained 57 articles and analyzed them to answer the research questions: (1) What evidence is available regarding the impacts of climate change on the operation of organized competitive sport entities? (2) What is known from the literature about the measures taken by organized competitive sport entities to adapt to the impacts of climate change? Our analysis yielded five major themes: (1) Heat impacts on athlete and spectator health; (2) heat impacts on athlete performance; (3) adaptive measures taken in sport; (4) suitability of various cities for event hosting; and (5) benchmarking and boundary conditions. This review reveals that there is evidence of some climate change impacts on sport, but the literature reflects only a small share of the global sport sector. Equally, much remains to be understood about the nature of adaptation. This article is categorized under: Assessing Impacts of Climate Change > Evaluating Future Impacts of Climate Change
... Studies of sport with climate-exposed assets are limited to the Winter Olympics (e.g. Scott, Steiger, Rutty, & Johnson, 2015), ice and snow-based sports (e.g. Orr, 2020;Wolfsegger, Gössling, & Scott, 2008), baseball (Orr, 2020), and golf (Scott & Jones, 2007). ...
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Research Question: This paper explores the impact of climate change on major Australian sport stadia, and organizational responses. Specifically, we explore how climate change impacts the water resources used at such stadia, and implications for the organizations managing this critical sport infrastructure. Results and Findings: The analysis identified six climate change issues pertaining to water resources: (a) reduced rainfall, (b) increased evaporation from playing surfaces (c) water supply restrictions and other regulation, (d) higher water supply costs, (e) capital costs for water management infrastructure, and (f) negative public perceptions of high water consumption. The three organizational water management strategies were: (a) water-harvesting, (b) water-storage, and (c) water recycling. These strategies are indicative of adaptation responses to climate impacts. Implications: Given the long-term nature of climate change, and the proliferation of water-related public policy activity in recent years, stadium organizations will likely benefit from including climate change and adaptation in their strategic thinking.
... There is also a concern that global warming will adversely affect the Winter Olympics. A study by Scott et al. [19] (p. 913) noted that the Winter Olympics are under threat as evidence points to a decline of "probability of a minimum temperature of ≤0 • C", which is not ideal for such an event. ...
Article
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The past decade recorded the highest number of high impact extreme weather events such as flooding, rainfall events, fires, droughts, and heatwaves amongst others. One of the key features and drivers of extreme weather events has been global warming, with record temperatures recorded globally. The World Meteorological Organization indicated that the 2010–2020 decade was one of the warmest on record. Continued global warming triggers a chain of positive feedback with far-reaching adverse implications on the environment and socio-economic activities. The tourism industry fears that increased global warming would result in severe challenges for the sector. The challenges include species extinction, disruption of tourism aviation, and several tourism activities. Given the extent of climate variability and change, this study examines the impacts of rising temperatures on tourism operations at Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa. The study adopts a mixed-method approach that uses secondary, archival, and primary data collected through interviews and field observations to investigate the impacts. Data analysis was done using XLSTAT and Mann–Kendall Trend Analysis to analyse climate trends, while content and thematic analyses were used to analyse primary data findings. The study found that increasing temperature is challenging for tourists and tourism employees as it affects productivity, sleeping patterns, tourism operations, and infrastructure. High temperatures are a considerable threat to water availability and animal sightings, adversely affecting the game drive experience. Increased heatwaves resulted in bird mortality and hatching mortality for turtles; this is a significant conservation challenge. The study recommends that heat stress be treated as a health and safety issue to protect tourists and employees.
... Afterward, review was carried out considering athletes and spectators who are more exposed to the effects of climate change in outdoor sports. Since the effect of climate change on outdoor sports in winter (e.g., skiing) has been investigated in various studies in the literature (e.g., Demiroglu et al., 2021;Göymen et al., 2017;Knowles et al., 2020;Scott et al., 2015Scott et al., , 2019Steiger et al., 2019), this study focuses on sports such as tennis, football, baseball, and athletism, which are also popular around the world and are performed with the participation of large audiences. ...
Article
It is inevitable that each sector has a distinct vulnerability to climate change in divergent dimensions with different aspects. When health, social, cultural, and economic components are considered together, the vulnerability of the sports sector to climate change cannot be ignored in terms of its mass impact. Thus, it is estimated that professional or amateur athletes, trainers, and spectators, as well as managers, administrators, media workers, and sponsor companies interested in outdoor sports will be exposed to the potential direct and/or indirect impacts of climate change in the future. In this context, the potential impacts and risks of climate change on outdoor sports activities were comprehensively reviewed in terms of climate change indicators about the health of athletes and spectators, venues and calendars of competitions. Accordingly, the danger and risk thresholds were determined for the mentioned sports branches, and the conditions that cause the postponement or cancellation of the competitions are examined. Additionally, the extent to which these values and conditions may change in the short and long term with the increasing impacts of climate change has been considered. Moreover, the rules and regulations added to the sports and health policies of countries in order to minimize or prevent the adverse impacts caused by climate change have been examined, and additional precautions to be taken have been mentioned. The review indicates that these potential climate change-related disruptions may pose a serious risk for outdoor sports in terms of the health of athletes and spectators and sectoral incomes.
... Therefore, the use of WBGT Level 4 (28 °C) as a threshold for the impossibility of holding a marathon is consistent with the results of the aforementioned research. The 90% criterion is set in reference to previous studies on the feasibility of hosting the summer and winter Olympics 11,26,27 , and the duration (3 h) and timing (between 7:00 and 21:00 in August) is set based on the general competition time of the Olympic marathon, where all Olympic marathons since the 1980 Moscow Olympics were held, except for the men's and women's marathons at the 1988 Seoul and 2000 Sydney Olympics, the women's marathon at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and the women's marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which was moved up by an hour the day before to start at 6:00 [28][29][30][31][32][33] . ...
Article
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There are concerns about the impact of climate change on Olympic Games, especially endurance events, such as marathons. In recent competitions, many marathon runners dropped out of their races due to extreme heat, and it is expected that more areas will be unable to host the Games due to climate change. Here, we show the feasibility of the Olympic marathon considering the variations in climate factors, socioeconomic conditions, and adaptation measures. The number of current possible host cities will decline by up to 27% worldwide by the late twenty-first century. Dozens of emerging cities, especially in Asia, will not be capable of hosting the marathon under the highest emission scenario. Moving the marathon from August to October and holding the Games in multiple cities in the country are effective measures, and they should be considered if we are to maintain the regional diversity of the Games.
... In addition to the original snow-covered days (SWE > 0 mm) metric commonly used in the peer-reviewed literature (Burakowski et al. 2008, Hayhoe et al. 2007), we added a second snow-covered days threshold of SWE > 30 mm, which is ~15 cm (6 in) physical snow height, assuming a snow density of 200 kg/m -3 as a proxy for deeper, settled, and compacted snow cover. Operationally, the value of this snow depth threshold varies from 15-30 cm for winter recreation activities such as Nordic and alpine skiing, respectively (Hennessey et al. 2008;Morin et al. 2021;Scott et al. 2008Scott et al. , 2015 and references within) to as much as 120 cm for buffering soils from atmospheric fluctuations in temperature (Decker et al. 2003, Liptzin et al. 2009, Sorensen et al. 2018, Tatariw et al. 2017; thus, the 30-mm SWE threshold we chose represents a minimum for deep snow cover. ...
Article
Winters in northeastern North America have warmed faster than summers, with impacts on ecosystems and society. Global climate models (GCMs) indicate that winters will continue to warm and lose snow in the future, but uncertainty remains regarding the magnitude of warming. Here, we project future trends in winter indicators under lower and higher climate-warming scenarios based on emission levels across northeastern North America at a fine spatial scale (1/16°) relevant to climate-related decision making. Under both climate scenarios, winters continue to warm with coincident increases in days above freezing, decreases in days with snow cover, and fewer nights below freezing. Deep snow-packs become increasingly short-lived, decreasing from a historical baseline of 2 months of subnivium habitat to <1 month under the warmer, higher-emissions climate scenario. Warmer winter temperatures allow invasive pests such as Adelges tsugae (Hemlock Woolly Adelgid) and Dendroctonus frontalis (Southern Pine Beetle) to expand their range northward due to reduced overwinter mortality. The higher elevations remain more resilient to winter warming compared to more southerly and coastal regions. Decreases in natural snowpack and warmer temperatures point toward a need for adaptation and mitigation in the multi-million-dollar winter-recreation and forest-management economies.
Article
According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change experts, recent changes across the climate system are unprecedented, and the next decades are the most decisive in human history to drastically reduce global annual greenhouse gas emissions. This text argues that sport and exercise psychology, as a scientific discipline, needs to address anthropogenic climate change by helping athletes, sport students, psychologists, coaches, physical educators, youth, sport communities and stakeholders and all populations concerned by our field to adopt adaptation and mitigation behaviors and trigger social changes in their respective communities. We briefly present the bidirectional associations between physical activity, sport and climate change. Then, we highlight three key points about climate change: its effects on health, equity issues and behaviors change in line with currently needed climate efforts. Furthermore, we suggest a series of research questions for physical activity and sport psychology domains. Finally, we conclude by presenting a call to action.
Article
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Observations in Romania show that the months of January and February are starting to show an increasing interest for tourists in areas known for winter sports involving snow. This observation is at odds with the period hitherto considered traditional for winter tourism in Romania, i.e., from the end of December to the first few days of January, when school holidays and employee holidays are frequently scheduled. Analysis of the climatic data of recent years shows a shortening of the period when natural weather conditions are favorable for this type of tourism. In this paper it was statistically determined that the maximum share of negative temperature coverage of Romania’s territory tends to occur at present in the second half of January. It is therefore necessary to correlate the school and labor law timetables with the new climatic conditions and other measures to adapt to current conditions.
Article
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Climate change scenarios with a high spatial and temporal resolution are required in the evaluation of the effects of climate change on agricultural potential and agricultural risk. Such scenarios should reproduce changes in mean weather characteristics as well as incorporate the changes in climate variability indicated by the global climate model (GCM) used. Recent work on the sensitivity of crop models and climatic extremes has clearly demonstrated that changes in variability can have more profound effects on crop yield and on the probability of extreme weather events than simple changes in the mean values. The construction of climate change scenarios based on spatial regression downscaling and on the use of a local stochastic weather generator is described. Regression downscaling translated the coarse resolution GCM grid-box predictions of climate change to site-specific values. These values were then used to perturb the parameters of the stochastic weather generator in order to simulate site-specific daily weather data. This approach permits the incorporation of changes in the mean and variability of climate in a consistent and computationally inexpensive way. The stochastic weather generator used in this study, LARS-WG, has been validated across Europe and has been shown to perform well in the simulation of different weather statistics, including those climatic extremes relevant to agriculture. The importance of downscaling and the incorporation of climate variability are demonstrated at two European sites where climate change scenarios were constructed using the UK Met. Office high resolution GCM equilibrium and transient experiments.
Book
Climate and Society presents from a transdisciplinary view, climate and its changes, impact and perception. The history of climate and its different approaches over time — which are anthropocentric and more system-oriented, academic and application-driven — are reviewed, as are the possibilities of managing climate, in particular by steering the greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, the concepts of climate as a resource for societies are discussed and the emergence of climate non-constancy and its impact, studied. In essence, this book provides an absorbing account of the cultural history of climate and relates it to contemporary scientific knowledge about climate, climate change and its impact. © 2010 by World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.
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The contribution of tourism to climate change, and the likely consequences of climate change for key tourist destinations, has been well reported and discussed. Yet, there is a lack of evidence-based systematic practical advice as to how the tourism industry should respond to the challenge of climate change. Building on a sound conceptual understanding of the links between climate change and tourism, this book shows how the tourism sector might best respond. It not only focuses on the roles of supportive policies and institutions in ensuring a strong "enabling environment" for practical responses, but also on the practical responses themselves. This practical approach is presented through a large number of case studies and examples which illustrate how policy and industry initiatives have been implemented in tourism, and if or why they were successful. The majority of examples come from places such as the Caribbean, Spain, the Maldives, Nepal, and the UK, as well as Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the Pacific. The examples are presented within an overall framework that facilitates the translation of adaptation and mitigation policies into practice. This book offers the tourism industry, students and academics the opportunity to advance from the earlier, more conceptual texts on tourism and climate change by taking a much more practical approach. Its global coverage, through the use of international case studies, fosters a cross-fertilisation of ideas and initiatives. This text provides a detailed analysis of best practices in the face of climate change, across countries and geographically diverse tourist destinations and operations.
Book
Climate change is one of the major issues facing us today and has been described as a threat greater than terrorism. As the world's largest industry tourism both contributes to and will be dramatically affected by climate change. This is the first comprehensive book-level examination of the relationship between tourism and climate change, of interest not only to students of tourism but to policy makers and the industry who will have to respond to the challenges posed. © 2005 C. Michael Hall, James Higham and the authors of individual chapters. All rights reserved.
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Tourism is an increasingly salient global economic sector that is recognized as highly climate sensitive. Mountain destinations and the multi-billion dollar ski industry are considered particularly vulnerable to climate variability and change. This chapter explores the evolution of the ski industry's climate sensitivity over the last three decades and the climate adaptations that made this possible. Existing climate vulnerability assessments of the ski industry are critically examined and a new sensitivity analysis framework introduced to facilitate future vulnerability comparisons of the world's major ski regions and specific destinations. Recommendations for policy makers and ski industry stakeholders conclude the chapter.
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This book discusses the tourism-climate system and provides a sound basis for those interested in tourism management and climate change mitigation, adaptation and policy. In the first three chapters, the book provides a general overview of the relationships between tourism and climate change and illustrates the complexity in four case studies that are relevant to the wide audience of tourism stakeholders. In the following seven chapters detailed discussion of the tourism and climate systems, greenhouse gas accounting for tourism, mitigation, climate risk management and comprehensive tourism-climate policies are provided. This book compiles and critically analyses the latest knowledge in this field of research and seeks to make it accessible to tourism practitioners and other stakeholders involved in tourism or climate change.