Climate change blamed for Olympic snow shortage
Winter snow season has been slowly shrinkng in past 50 years, says researcher
The David Suzuki Foundation says global warming and climate change are in part responsible for what's happening to a key Olympic venue.
Olympic organizers are working around the clock to ensure there's enough snow on Cypress Mountain, home to freestyle ski and snowboard events for the Games.
Record warm temperatures and heavy rains this winter have forced VANOC to use bales of hay and to truck in snow to create the courses for the events.
The Games are a perfect catalyst for Canada to take climate change seriously in the long term, according to Ian Bruce, the lead climate change researcher at the Suzuki Foundation.
"It's crucial, as far as our economy goes here in Canada [and] it's crucial to protect winter sports as far as our culture goes," Bruce said.
Snow season shrinking
If we fail to act, we will also lose a big part of the economy for the many communities in the country that depend on winter sports and winter sports tourism, said Bruce.
"These are really important issues that I think should be integrated into hosting the Winter Olympics. We should be calling for leadership on climate change and putting in solutions."
Research gathered over a 50-year period showed that the snow season in winters in B.C. are getting shorter by between four and five weeks, with warmer temperatures overall, Bruce said.
Efforts like those underway on Cypress Mountain to create a snow pack for the Olympics are not viable strategies for the long term, he said.