As you have no doubt heard, the current Winter Olympic Games are experiencing some of the affects of climate change. The games, being held in Sochi, Russia, haven’t been as cold as they should be making it difficult for some of the events to take place as planned. According to a recent study conducted by Canada’s University of Waterloo and Austria‘s Management Center in Innsbruck in January 2014, only 11 of the 19 cities that have previously hosted the Winter Olympic games currently have cold enough conditions to host the winter sports. The study also predicts that by the year 2100 its possible only six of those cities will be cold enough if the global warming trend continues.
According to USA Today, the weather from the past week in Sochi has been in the low 60s, which is considered unfit conditions for winter sport activities due to melting snow and ice, causing safety complaints that the trails are too bumpy for downhill skiing, among other issues. These conditions have lead to some cancellations and postponed training sessions.
Climate change activist group POW (Protect Our Winters), founded in 2007 by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones, have seen first hand how the unseasonally warm weather has affected the winter sports community. In an interview with ESPN in 2011, Jones explained his concern with warming temperatures, “Glaciers are shrinking in front of our eyes, ski resorts are closing because of lack of snow, and each year seems to be getting warmer than the last.”
About 100 Olympians, a majority American, have signed a petition called Olympic Athletes Against Climate Change, to start addressing the climate change issue as a real issue that needs to be handled for future Olympic games. The petition poses possibilities, such as reducing carbon emissions and using clean energy sources, in order to help slow the process of global warming. These athletes are concerned that climate change poses a large threat to putting an end to many winter sports and Olympic winter games.