Report: Climate Change Impacts Beijing Winter Olympics and Future of Winter Sports – Georgia State University News

ATLANTA — Shorter winter seasons, less snowfall and melting ice caused by climate change will have major implications for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the future of winter sports, as noted in a new report co-authored by Georgia State University Associate Professor Tim Kellison.

Changing snow conditions have made it increasingly difficult for host cities to have enough snow for athletes to participate in their respective winter sports. To solve this problem, Japanese scientists invented an artificial snow formula used since the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY

This year’s games in Beijing will be the first to use nearly 100% artificial snow, requiring around 49 million gallons of water, 130 fan snow generators and 300 snow cannons to create the 1.2 million cubic meters of snow, according to the report. .

“For everything to work, event organizers need to be able to access a huge supply of water and power all this equipment. And even still, they need favorable weather conditions to keep artificial snow in peak condition — after all, even fake snow melts,” said Kellison, who is co-director of the state’s Center for Sport and Urban Policy. Georgia. “The artificial snowmaking process itself can have a high environmental cost, not least because of all the water used. But all that infrastructure also costs a lot of money, something an Olympic host city might be able to absorb, but less possible at lower levels of these winter sports.

Artificial snow not only requires significant resources and infrastructure to create, but it also impacts the ability of winter athletes to train and compete safely.

“I have noticed an increase in mental health issues among winter sports athletes. We are also seeing more injuries caused by the lack of on-snow training and the added pressure to perform when there is a window of opportunity,” said Philippe Marquis, two-time Winter Olympian and top freestyle skier, in The report. “Athletes feel the need to push their limits even if the conditions are not optimal.”

Kellison and his colleagues recommend that athletes, scientists and Olympic planning committees consider environmental concerns and sustainability when choosing future locations for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

They also suggest conducting further research into the impacts of using artificial snow and the optimal environments for training and competition in winter sports.

“We expect climate change will only increase reliance on snowmaking, so it will be important to understand how snowmaking can be done efficiently and in a way that limits its environmental impact.” , said Kellison. “It is also necessary to ensure that those who are on the snow – whether they are on the slopes for the first time or racing down a mountain in an Olympic race – are safe.

To read the full report, click here.

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