There’s a new report out titled “The Future of the Winter Olympics in a Warmer World” that has spawned a slew of alarmist reporting on how global warming will negatively affect future Winter Olympics. LiveScience, for example, posted this on February 4:
Sochi Could Be Too Warm to Host Olympics in 50 Years
This year may be the perfect time for Sochi to host the WinterOlympics , as new research suggests that by the middle of this century, the Russian town could be too warm to support many cold-weather sports.
In fact, the new research found that several of the cites that have hosted Winter Olympics in the past — including Vancouver, British Columbia; Squaw Valley, Calif.; and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany — will not be cold enough to host the Winter Games by mid-century, thanks to global warming.
[. . .]
The researchers focused on two major factors that determine whether former and future Winter Olympic sites would be “climatically reliable” to host the competition again: the probability that daily temperatures would stay below freezing, and the probability that the sites could maintain a snowpack of at least 30 centimeters (11.8 inches). If the site met both criteria for nine out of 10 winters, that site was considered climatically reliable to host the Winter Games.
For starters, can the media stop using Sochi as an example of what global warming will do to future Olympics? NASA describes Sochi as ”the warmest city ever to host the winter games.” Some pre-Olympics events were canceled due to lack of snow. Forget 50 years down the road, it was too warm to have the Olympics in Sochi this year.
And secondly, the report’s scare tactic of showing that some past Olympic venues might not be suitable hosts for future games doesn’t mean much. Here’s the chart from the report that summarizes which past cities would and would not be considered “climatically suitable” for future games under different emissions scenarios:
The four cities researchers find at-risk from global warming in the future, under their rosiest of scenarios, are Sochi (2014), Grenoble (1968), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (1936), and Chamonix (1924). Let’s take a closer look:
- Sochi, as previously discussed, never made sense;
- France chose Annecy over Gernoble while bidding for the 2018 games;
- Environmental groups in Germany opposed the joint bid of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Munich to host in 2018, and Munich voters shot down a second attempt to bid for the games in 2022;
- Chamonix sites would have been used if Annecy, France had won the bid in 2018, but Annecy finished a distant third behind Munich and the eventual choice to hold the 2018 games, Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In other words, the four sites the researchers think won’t be able to have the Olympics in the future because of a lack of snow probably won’t win the bidding for the Olympics in the future anyway. Cancel the alerts.
Oh, and then there’s this. After all that doom-and-gloom, LiveScience concludes:
It remains unclear how warmer temperatures could influence precipitation. Some recent research shows that because warmer air holds more moisture, climate change may, in fact, increase the amount of precipitation, including snow, in some regions.
Global warming might be great news for the Winter Olympics? Of course it will.