CCD Editor’s Note: It’s cold now, but four years ago the NY Times was lamenting the end of snow after an unusually warm winter (after the jump) in Sochi. Four years back they blamed global warming. Today they’re still blaming global warming. We call it weather.
Freezing weather at the Winter Olympics threatens to force some athletes and staff to pull out of Friday’s opening ceremony as Pyeongchang shivers in temperatures plunging to minus 20 degrees Celsius.
Forget Russian doping, North Korea, and US speed queen Lindsey Vonn: much of the talk among those arriving in South Korea this week is the brutal cold.
The Pyeongchang Games are shaping up to be one of the coldest Olympics ever.
Italy is among the countries fearing the dangerous effects of the big chill and are advising their competitors to ensure they are moving at all times during the traditional curtain raiser on Friday.
Doctors with the Italian team have ordered coaches and staff with heart problems or diabetes to keep in the warm instead — the stadium for the opening ceremony is open to the elements with no roof.
New Zealand is taking no chances and Peter Wardell, their chef de mission, admitted on Monday: “We are a little trepidatious about the opening ceremony, which is going to be at night, and how we are all going to keep warm if it’s going to be these sorts of temperatures.
Four Years Ago…
The End of Snow?
OVER the next two weeks, hundreds of millions of people will watch Americans like Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin ski for gold on the downhill alpine course. Television crews will pan across epic vistas of the rugged Caucasus Mountains, draped with brilliant white ski slopes. What viewers might not see is the 16 million cubic feet of snow that was stored under insulated blankets last year to make sure those slopes remained white, or the hundreds of snow-making guns that have been running around the clock to keep them that way.
Officials canceled two Olympic test events last February in Sochi after several days of temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and a lack of snowfall had left ski trails bare and brown in spots. That situation led the climatologist Daniel Scott, a professor of global change and tourism at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, to analyze potential venues for future Winter Games. His thought was that with a rise in the average global temperature of more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit possible by 2100, there might not be that many snowy regions left in which to hold the Games. He concluded that of the 19 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics, as few as 10 might be cold enough by midcentury to host them again. By 2100, that number shrinks to 6.
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