Australian Ski Industry to Banish Due to Global Climate Change?

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | October 15, 2012 5:02 PM EST

Skiing aficionados who often go to Australia to experience the resource-rich nation's ski resorts and alpine regions may be forced to scout other locations in the coming years as the worsening global climate change could kill the Australian ski industry by year 2020.

A report by Sky News predicted two-thirds of the snow in Australia's popular ski resorts could already be gone eight years from now, a terrible blow to an industry that rakes in at least A$1 billion (£700 million) annually. Australia's winter sports get to receive around 800,000 visitors per year.

"We've predicted by 2020 to lose something like 60% of the snow cover of the Australian Alps," Catherine Pickering, a Griffith University associate professor, was quoted as saying by Sky News.

"Unfortunately, because our current emissions and our current rises in temperatures are at the high end of the predictions, it's definitely coming to us sooner and faster."

In her research, Ms Pickering found the snow covering Australia's alpine regions is already declining, and the trend is expected to continue, if not rapidly so.

She said that at Spencer's Creek in the Snowy Mountains, the highest altitude snow course in Australia, the average snow cover has deteriorated by 30 per cent in just over the past 50 years.

This decline in Australia's snow conditions in the alps was noticed by the very ski aficionados themselves.

"The first time I started skiing, you could ski right down here and it was probably three or four inches of powder right down the main run," veteran Australian skier Brian Kairns, who has conquered the snowy slopes at the Mount Buller resort for 30 years now, said in the report.

"These days you come down and you can injure yourself where it's all patchy and washed out."

To salvage the grim situation and what could turn out of Australia's majestic snowy slopes, some resorts have resorted to producing snow. As far out and as early as 1970, some of the resorts at Mount Buller already began harvesting snow with the aid of the most advanced snow-making machines they can find in the world.

"Snow making is no doubt an adaptive strategy to climate change and all the leading resorts in the world are making snow," Laurie Blampied, Buller Ski Lifts general manager, said as he confirmed that indeed, Australia's snowy slopes are being ravaged by the grim effects of global climate change.

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