Friday, February 13, 2009

Away To The Hills

Inshallah by this time tomorrow we'll be in the Lakes, and on Saturday in Strathspey, assuming the weather forecast (rain for Scotland on the weekend) is correct. But it'll have to rain a lot to wipe out all that wonderful snow.

Unless the climate changes of the last 25 years can be reversed, the long term outlook for Scottish skiing is bleak.

Alex Hill, the chief government adviser with the Met Office, told The Scotsman there was no future for skiing in Scotland because climate change would see winters become too warm for regular snowfall. However, although members of the ski industry agreed that climate change was having an impact, they said the industry could survive.

But Mr Hill said: "Put it this way: I won't be investing in the skiing industry. The amount of snow has been decreasing for the last 40 years, and there's no reason why it's going to stop now. Will there be a ski industry in Scotland in 50 years' time? Very unlikely."

Met Office climate predictions, seen by The Scotsman, suggest that, by 2080, the average winter night-time temperature in the Highlands will be 2C, compared with -2C at present.
He's right and all. In the 70s there was snow on the tops all through summer, and in the winter snow stayed for weeks in the Highlands and Borders. The skiing was reliable and a lot of people learned there. The Reo Stakis group developed Aviemore (admittedly with some pretty cruddy architecture) as a winter resort, just as winters disappeared - when we first visited as a family in the 90s the ice rink (now closed) had seen better days - as, one felt, had the whole place. We had one half-term week in around 2002 with no snow at all.

But there's an awful lot there as of now. The boots and skis are packed - I just can't wait.

Let's hope the sun's output diminishes a tad and/or we get another Maunder minimum. Living things can survive cold, but not too much heat.

Blogging will resume next weekend, God willing.


Silly Laban said...

Living things can survive cold, but not too much heat.

Which is presumably why Jungles support a disproportionate proportion of fauna variety and the artic regions only support a handful including polar bears and penguins.

dearieme said...

We need Scotland to get warmer so that it becomes a better refuge for all the English fleeing vibrancy.

David said...

Snow slowly disappearing up here in Moray! Get up while you can! Bring swim trunks for alternative dip in Leisure Centre if ski runs are slushy....

Anonymous said...

"Living things can survive cold, but not too much heat."

Well it's a viewpoint.

For me, if the choice is between ice and fire, give me the fire every time.

It's kind of hard to grow crops when the Ice Age hits.

Have you done the sums, at all, for the increased agricultural yields resulting from slightly higher CO2 and a slightly longer growing season in temperate zones?


I suggest you do, and check out the converse too; starvation is not a very attractive prospect.

Anonymous said...

David - yes, he'll need an alternative; I hear that Aviemore has stopped selling lift passes for this weekend, because so many have been bought that they're afraid the slopes will be dangerously crowded.

When did that last happen?

This global warming's a nightmare, I tell you.

Laban said...

"Living things can survive cold, but not too much heat"

I'm thinking in terms of higher temperatures than jungly ones.