Record warmth is forcing the organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia to helicopter in snow to cover mountains. The planet’s changing climate is threatening the start of the Olympics, as “sloppy, foggy weather” has canceled training runs on both Whistler and Cypress Mountains. In Vancouver, the “average temperature in January was 44.9 degrees, besting the previous warm record of 43.3 in 2006 and well above the historic average of 37.9 degrees”:
After the warmest January in Vancouver history, organizers moved more than 5,000 cubic meters of snow onto Cypress by helicopter and truck from nearby mountains. Some 750 workers are bringing in snow and building courses before competition starts on Saturday.
Vancouver’s troubles are part of a broader trend of warmer winters across the Northern Hemisphere. Increased warmth and changing weather patterns have led to glacial retreat and unreliable snowfall across the globe, putting the future of alpine sports in jeopardy. Globally, we are in the warmest winter on record. Locally, the weather forecast for the Olympics “calls for more rain and warm temperatures for the next five days.”