Because the general effects of climate change are an increased global temperature and altered weather patterns, industries that depend on predictable weather patterns are at risk. In particular, industries such as ski tourism have been heavily impacted by a change in global temperature and a change in weather patterns. This is because ski areas rely on large amounts of predictable snowfall. However, an increase in temperature means less snow that will fall and less snow that will remain once it has fallen. The academic literature supports the idea that “The lack of snow due to low precipitation or high temperatures is an immense challenge for winter sport destinations…” (Rixen, 2011). Climate change also means that snow will fall in different places then where it is needed, such as in ski resorts. Therefore, the current and future financial viability of these resorts and the cities that depend on them is no longer certain. Therefore, in general, climate change has resulted in shorter ski seasons, decreased snow depth, an increase in the potential for natural disasters, a decrease in economic activity, and an increase in expensive artificial snow creation in many cities that depend on the ski industry.
In particular, the city of Davos, Switzerland, and many other cities in the Alps, has seen a sharp decrease in winter tourism because of the effect of climate change on their ski industry. “Since the Alpine snow cover is very sensitive to temperature, the depth, length and duration of the snow cover is greatly influenced by climate change” (Rixen, 2011). Some experts have reported that the the side of the alps facing the Switzerland has experienced the driest season on record, since the records started being recorded 150 years ago. This has caused a significant loss of snow, with some predictions claiming that 70% of the snow could be lost by 2100, including the very sensitive permafrost, if global conditions do not change (Kirby, 2017). One of the results of this is that the tourism season in places like Davos has significantly shortened, forcing some ski resorts and peripheral businesses to close, thus hurting the local economy.
Another result of this is the increased danger from floods and avalanches due to the fact that the snow and permafrost are now melting at rapidly accelerating rates. That is, if the snow melts too quickly, then large chunks of snow cover can fall, causing an avalanche or a flood in nearby settlements. Another result of this is that these cities and the tourism industry in general need to invest heavily in artificial snow creation. To keep tourists and skiers coming to Davos or other similar towns, a lot of money has been spent on machines that can create snow from liquid water. While this is expensive, it financially makes sense, as it is necessary to keep the industry alive. Although this is likely to get more and more expensive as time goes on and as the effects of climate change gets worse. “Given the expected change in climate, the trend toward extensive snow production will continue and increase” (Rixen, 2011).
Therefore, cities like Davos, Switzerland, and many others across the world that depend on ski tourism, may become unsustainable and unsafe. That is, the ski industry is a major source of income for these cities and it will become increasingly more expensive to help them remain open. These cities might also experience more avalanches and floods as the amount of snow and the speed at which it melts continues to increase. This can all be changed if climate change is reversed if radical changes such as a sharp reduction in carbon output happens immediately, although the chances of this happening are not good.