Source Pravda.Ru

OECD: Climate change threatens Alpine ski resorts

Global warming poses a serious threat to Alpine ski resorts and the regional economies that depend on them, especially in Germany, the OECD said Wednesday.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which carried out a study of ski areas across the Alps, said the mountain chain was "particularly sensitive" to climate change.

"Recent warming there has been roughly three times the global average," the report said.

High-resolution reconstructions show that 1994, 2000, 2002 and 2003 were the warmest years on record in 500 years, the Paris-based organization said.

"Climate model projections show even greater changes in the coming decades, with less snow at low altitudes and receding glaciers and melting permafrost higher up," it said.

The World Cup ski circuit has already been badly hit by lack of snow this season, with several races called off. On Wednesday, the international ski federation canceled next week's women's slalom in the French resort of Megeve. Two freestyle World Cup events and a snowboarding competition were also called off.

Germany is likely to suffer the most from climate change, the OECD report said. Warming of 1 degree Celsius would cause a 60 percent drop in the number of areas where there is reliable snow, it said.

Switzerland is the least at risk. Austria and Italy are slightly more sensitive than average, while France has average risk, the report said.

Certain regional economies face greater dangers than others, and low-altitude areas are more vulnerable than high-altitude regions. The Alpes Maritimes region of France, Styria in Austria and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy would be more affected than Grisons and Valais in Switzerland and Savoie in France, the OECD said, reports AP.

The 30-nation OECD includes the United States, Japan and most European Union members.

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