European Ski Resorts Suffer From Lack Of Snow After Warmest January Ever Recorded

The Eco Experts

Ski resorts in Europe are suffering from a lack of snow after the warmest January on record.

Global average temperatures in January 2024 were 1.66°C above the pre-industrial January average (1850-1900), according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, and 0.12°C above the previous warmest January, January 2020.

Across the Alps, where many of Europe’s skiing hotspots are located, temperatures in January were around 2°C warmer than usual, according to the Swiss Meteorological Federation. The above freezing temperatures made it difficult for snow to stick.

Mount Terminillo, for example, a popular ski resort in the Italian Alps, was left completely snowless and empty of tourists after temperatures reached as high as 12°C, the Independent reported.

Over in the Pyrenees, another European skiing destination, many resorts are suffering from an almost total lack of snow, because of a combination of above 0°C temperatures and a persistent drought.

Unfortunately, snowless ski resorts could become a common occurrence as the global warming trend continues. On top of increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, such as the recent storms and flooding in the UK, global warming and climate change also harms communities that rely on consistent weather as part of their livelihoods.

ski slopes with most of snow melted

New hottest 12-month period announced

One month after 2023 was confirmed to be the hottest year on record, February 2023 to January 2024 was announced as the new hottest 12 month period on record by Europe’s climate change service.

In this period, the global temperature average was 1.52°C above the pre-industrial average, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, exceeding the 1.5°C warming limit set by the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The agreement, signed by 194 states and the European Union, is a legally binding pledge to limit warming to 1.5°C, and keep warming below 2°C.

However, this new record period of warming doesn’t actually mean that the Paris Agreement has been breached. For that to happen, global temperature averages need to exceed 1.5°C of warming for a sustained period of 20 years.

It’s still a worrying trend, which should send alarm bells ringing for world leaders.

How do you limit global warming?

The surest way to limit global warming and protect people and the environment is by drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This can be achieved by cutting back on the use of fossil fuels and ramping up renewable energy production.

There’s been some success on that end since, on top of being the hottest year, 2023 was also a record year for renewable energy growth, driven mostly by an uptick in solar capacity in China.

The UK still has a way to go before ‘being fully green’, with roughly 55%-60% of its electricity still coming from fossil fuels. The fact that the government has u-turned on several net zero policies and targets probably hasn’t helped with emissions reductions either. Most recently, the government backtracked its ‘boiler tax’ scheme, which would have imposed quotas on heat pump sales to manufacturers.

While it’s ultimately up to world governments to make the transition to green energy and reduce our collective emissions, you can do your part for the environment by decarbonising your everyday life – if you can afford it, since green-tech often doesn’t come cheap.

This could mean switching your gas boiler out for a heat pump, making the next car you purchase be an electric vehicle, or using more clean energy by getting solar panels for your home.

Written by:
Tatiana has written about multiple environmental topics, including heat pumps, energy-efficient household products, and solar panels. She is dedicated to demystifying green tech to make eco-friendly living more accessible.
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