Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blame it on global warming. Ski seaons's records.

The cold spell that gripped the world last year appears to be continuing. The latest indication is that the skiing season in Europe is being extended for weeks this year. St. Anton in Austria plans on staying open until April 27, Tignes in France is planning to close on May 11 and Engelberg in Switzerland plans to stay open until May 25. Skiing one week before the start of June!

In addition to an extended winter these resorts saw record snow falls for the year. And skiers in Europe are being urged to take advantage of this. Most are used to a skiing season that would be closed by now. Ski Club Great Britain says that the skiing is great. Vanessa Fisher, of the club, said they had another cold weekend with more snow. Normally the slopes start to warm up and the snow gets mushy “but for the moment it’s great--which is very unusual for this time of year.”

At Tignes the average snow depth is 230 cm on the higher slopes and 158 cm on the lower ones. Normally it would be 213 cm and 118 cm.

All this has the resorts singing on the way to the bank. This snow season started much earlier than normal. Resorts were opening in October and November.

How do you think the media would be covering this story if the resorts opened late and closed early due to warmer weather? Do you think that would generate lots of news coverage and scary predictions coupled with demand for "urgent" action?

On the other side of the globe Vietnam is also having problems with cold. The Thanh Nien Daily reports: "A record cold spell in northern Vietnam has killed 31,000 heads of cattle and destroyed more than 11,000 hectares of paddy and rice-seeding field."

In Kansas the Morning Sun reports that farmers aren't sure when to plant corn this year. Last year they planted early and but that was "a total disaster" because the "Easter freeze killed the corn that was up and also some that had only sprouted. The freeze last year was something we had never seen before. We had February weather in April."  With records snows across America this year this does put farmers in a conundrum as to when to plant. 

So far we've had record colds in various U.S. states, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argetina and Chili. Baghdad saw its first snow in recorded history.