Global warming has been on scientists’ radars for many years now, driven primarily by human activity. A recent analysis released by NASA revealed, 2023 as Earth’s warmest year since modern record-keeping began, forcing ski resorts to suffer.
According to NASA, global warming refers to the long-term warming of the planet. The rise in global temperatures is due to increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The effects predicted by scientists have already come to fruition such as loss of sea ice, melting glaciers, intense heat waves, and more. While ski resorts have the capability of creating man-made snow, the need for colder temperatures is still crucial.
Greenhouse gases become an issue when they absorb the sun’s heat that radiates from Earth’s surface, trapping it in the atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space.
An expert in the field, Kent Moore, has been studying climate change and completed in depth analyses on how it has been changing for over 25 years. Moore is a professor at the University of Toronto teaching chemical and physical sciences.
“As the year progressed, it was clear that it was going to be a pretty warm year,” said Moore.
With weather events like El Niño occurring this past year, Canadian winter often becomes milder and drier. The event is typically declared when sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific rise to at least 0.5 C above the long-term average, according to the National Geographic Society.
“That’s one thing that is quite worrisome is that we knew this would happen, but it’s happening way earlier than we thought,” said the professor.
Moore believes that this is a warning sign to humanity.
He feels saddened that his generation is leaving the Earth in a ‘bad place’ and expects himself and others to look forward and keep trying to better the future.
“We can’t do anything about 2023 but we can control 2050 or 2060,” said Moore.
Our planet isn’t the only thing at risk of being damaged by these changes, businesses that depend on snowfall in the winter for steady income are also facing uncertainties.
Chicopee Ski Resort based in Kitchener has been serving the winter sports industry since 1934. As years have passed, the ski hills have had to adapt to the ever-changing climate.
The changes in Canada’s winter season have forced winter sports industries to adapt. Making man-made snow for ski hills is a process Chicopee is no stranger to.
“We couldn’t survive anymore from snow from the heavens,” said Bill Creighton, CEO at the Kitchener location.
According to Creighton, man-made snow is more durable than nature’s fallen snow. It crystallizes differently and once it’s been groomed the two types of snow become similar in feel.
“I think there is climate change, and it does affect our industry, do I think it is going to wipe out our industry, I think it’ll be a long time before it does,” said Creighton.
In the CEO’s 12 years with the resort, the open times have generally been around Christmas, but with less heavy snowfall and increasing temperatures, those dates have been pushed back.
“The idea that we are skiing in Kitchener/Waterloo in early to mid-November is no longer a reality,” said Creighton.
The need for colder temperatures is crucial in the process of making man-made snow. The fewer windows of cold weather, the less bulk being created.
Adapting to change seems to be the key to aiding the battle against climate change. “For me, I personally think my kids will still be skiing at Chicopee 20 years from now,” said Creighton with hope for the future of winter sports.