3 years ago

Projected climate change impacts on skiing and snowmobiling: A case study of the United States

We use a physically-based water and energy balance model to simulate natural snow accumulation at 247 winter recreation locations across the continental United States. We combine this model with projections of snowmaking conditions to determine downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling season lengths under baseline and future climates, using data from five climate models and two emissions scenarios. Projected season lengths are combined with baseline estimates of winter recreation activity, entrance fee information, and potential changes in population to monetize impacts to the selected winter recreation activity categories for the years 2050 and 2090. Our results identify changes in winter recreation season lengths across the United States that vary by location, recreational activity type, and climate scenario. However, virtually all locations are projected to see reductions in winter recreation season lengths, exceeding 50% by 2050 and 80% in 2090 for some downhill skiing locations. We estimate these season length changes could result in millions to tens of millions of foregone recreational visits annually by 2050, with an annual monetized impact of hundreds of millions of dollars. Comparing results from the alternative emissions scenarios shows that limiting global greenhouse gas emissions could both delay and substantially reduce adverse impacts to the winter recreation industry.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0959378016305556

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