CSIRO warns climate change may cut Australia's ski season

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Climate Change
A road can be seen next to dried-up creeks and salt pans located in outback Australia in this aerial picture taken on December 13, 2015. Reuters/David Gray

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has predicted that that Australia's ski season could be cut by as much as 80 days every year by 2050. The forecast was in line with worst-case predictions of climate change.

Under a low-risk scenario, CSIRO has forecasted that the average snow season across Victoria and some of New South Wales may turn out to be 20 to 55 days shorter. It can become 30 to 80 days shorter under the worst-case scenario.

According to the ABC, the agency has found significant decline during the past 60 years in the southern slopes and Murray-Basin areas. Predictions about the decline in snow depth and duration of snow cover persist.

CSIRO also notes that snow dumps may vary from one season to another. It is also unpredictable. "Snowfall is projected to experience a reduction that increases with time, with the magnitude dependent on the emission scenarios and the altitude," CSIRO’s 2015 report said.

CSIRO Climate Science Centre research director Kevin Hennessy explained that snow dumps depended on the rate of climate change. This in turn varies on greenhouse gas emissions.

Hennessy has further shared that they are looking at a committed warming of at least one or two degrees over the next decade so an amount of change is unavoidable. "If we continue to increase greenhouse gas house emissions at the current rate there will be a relatively rapid decline in snow cover and snow duration," he said.

In relation to this, The Colong Foundation for Wilderness's Keith Muir has expressed concerns that the issue might become a "stranded asset." "We think the ski resorts in Kosciuszko should be phased out by 2030, when there will be no snow that's viable for the commercial operation of snow resorts, even with snow making," Muir said.