How Climate Change Will Affect the Best Places to Ski

15 February 2021

If you are a slope junkie, it may be time to say “sayonara” Japan and “kia ora” to New Zealand.

We used global climate data in the Gro Platform to create a “climate risk score” for 300 ski locations around the world and plotted them on a map. Our findings indicate that Southern Hemisphere ski destinations like Patagonia and New Zealand are likely to remain good or get better for skiers, while Japan, interior US/Canada, and parts of the Alps will experience degradation.  

Our rankings reflect one of the greatest challenges to understanding the effects of climate change. The rankings highlight that while climate change entails huge economic costs on average, our best models tell us that climate change is going to affect different geographies in very different ways. 

This analysis also highlights the ease at which the physical risks of climate change on any combination of assets can now be assessed with the Gro platform, whether those assets are ski resorts, farmland, buildings, oil rigs, power plants, or municipal bonds, to name a few examples. The methodology is explained in detail below.

If you want to see the ranked list of ski destinations and expected temperature and precipitation changes for each ski site, reach out to intel@gro-intelligence.com.

Overall Climate Risk Score for Ski Areas

DATA: NOAA GDFL, powderhounds.com, OSM, Gro Analysis 

Methodology 

We start with a list of the world’s major ski locations taken from a popular ski-enthusiast website, which we supplement with additional locations from best-of lists on the internet and a few less traditional ski destinations (in case climate change specifically favors them, as in the case of South Africa).

We use the Gro API to ingest the coordinates of these locations and map them to Gro defined regions within our data platform, and combine them with the over 25,000 climate datasets in Gro. We then compute long-term projections for changes in precipitation and temperature for the respective ski seasons of each location (specific to each hemisphere). For this analysis we use the IPCC’s “business as usual” climate change scenario (called RCP 8.5) projected for the year 2050, but the analytics can be run for every IPCC scenario which is based on different CO₂ emission scenarios.

We first rank each region by its expected change in precipitation (more is better) and in temperature (lower is better). We then combine those rankings to derive a climate risk score for each ski destination.

Expected Change by 2050 in Precipitation During Ski
Season- RCP 8.5 (Millimeters per Month) 

DATA: NOAA GDFL, powderhounds.com, OSM, Gro Analysis 

Expected Change by 2050 in Average Low Temperatures
During Ski Season - RCP 8.5 (Degrees Celsius)

DATA: NOAA GDFL, powderhounds.com, OSM, Gro Analysis 

If you want to see the list of rankings and expected temperature and precipitation changes for each ski site, or find out more about how to use these tools for something other than ski resorts, please drop us a line at intel@gro-intelligence.com.

 

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