Studies led by the University of Waterloo, with a group of multinational researchers, have identified that climate change is threatening the future of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Temperatures are rising with the increase of global green house gas emissions, affecting the ability to reliably host the winter games across the globe. The average February daytime temperature of the Olympic Winter Games locations is steadily increasing - from 0.48C in the 1920–1950s, to 3.18C in the 1960–1990s, to 7.88C in games held in the twenty-first century - intensifying the need for weather risk management strategies.
"The world of winter sports is changing as the global climate continues to warm and elite winter athletes are witnessing the impacts of climate change at competition and summer training locations. The climate in many traditional winter sports regions isn’t what it used to be, and fewer and fewer places will be able to host the Olympic Winter Games as global warming accelerates."
IC3's Director and professor of geography and environmental management at Waterloo
Even with a drastic reduction in global green house gas emissions only a small number of cities will be cold enough to host the games. February is said to be the most climatically reliable month of the year, posing issues for the Paralympic Winter Games, which are traditionally held in March. Integrating the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in the month of February may need to be considered. Alternatively, separate locations for each game may be necessary to preserve the longevity of the Winter Games.
“Climate change alters the geography of the Winter Olympic Games. “The International Olympic Committee will have increasingly difficult decisions about where to award the Games, and for some regions interested in hosting a future Winter Olympics, the time to bid for the games might need to be sooner than later.”
University of Innsbruck, Austria
Read the full reports:
In the media:
The New York Times, January 11, 2018
Globe and Mail - January 11, 2018
The Seattle Times - January 11, 2018
The Record - January 11, 2018
ICI Radio-Canada.ca - January 12, 2018
Huffington Post Canada - January 11, 2018
Vancouver Sun - January 11, 2018
CTV News - January 11, 2018
Sportsnet - January 11, 2018
National Post - January 11, 2018
Ottawa Citizen - January 11, 2018