Global warming has already left some marks
curious worrisome in the short period of 2024, such as Catalonia facing a drought emergency in the middle of winter or ski slopes forced to close a few weeks after their opening. A clear example was offered just a few days ago by the Valle Laciana-Leitariegos station. On Tuesday he had no choice but to apply a temporary closure because, quite simply, there is not enough snow for ski fans and snow. Its managers remember that the lack of rainfall already forced them to delay its launch for more than a month, and they issue a warning to sailors: they are facing one of their most difficult seasons.
It is the new dynamic of the “lightning” seasons that can be seen in the Cantabrian Mountains or the Central System, imposed, much to their regret, by the heat.
The snow, in retreat. The reports on snow resources from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition are resounding. And worrying. The latest balance shows that the snow covered area in the Pyrenees is 2,937 km2 and 983 in the Cantabrian Mountains. In the middle of the month the records were, respectively, 7,042 and 6,382 km2. The tables also reflect important decreases in the Central-Iberian System and in the Sierra Nevada, in addition to the volume of water in the form of snow itself, which was reduced by around 31% during the same period.
What the numbers say. In ten of the 16 control points within the scope of the Cantabrian Hydrographic Confederation, the snow reserves are in fact worrying: in three cases they are considered “low”, in one “very low” and in the remaining six the Ministry directly speaks of minimum values for at least the last five years. The results coincide with a period in which the mercury has risen to particularly high values for this time of year.
elDiario.es has created a map that allows you to compare the temperatures of the last month with historical records. In Bilbao, for example, the average of the maximum temperatures so far in 2024 is 15.6º compared to the 13.5º that marks the historical average for the same period between 1981 and 2010. In Cantabria the same difference is two degrees more, in Gipuzkoa 1.9º, in Girona 2.7º, in Asturias 1.4º, in Álava 3.1º and in Guadalajara 2.5º.
Aemet itself reported not long ago that in Soria it had reached 20.8º in the middle of January, which marks the maximum value for this time of year since the mid-40s.
And the ski resorts? Such a question that was posed recently Twitter.com/metbeni”>Benito Fuentes, Aemet meteorologist, in a post in which he analyzes the impact of climate change on facilities such as Valle Laciana-Leitariegos. His conclusion is already advanced in the same title: global warming threatens ski resorts. “It emerges as a threatening shadow (…). The figures and trends revealed by the Copernicus program paint a challenging panorama for the winter future,” warns the expert after examining three indicators: the length of the season, the accumulation of snow and the hours conducive to its manufacture.
“Lightning seasons.” It is not necessary to conjugate in the future to appreciate the effects of global warming on ski resorts. On Monday the Valle Laciana-Leitariegos station published a notice about its temporary closure precisely due to the shortage of white mantle. Its own managers recognize that the measure will become effective just three weeks after starting its activity. “The ski resorts in León are facing one of their most complicated seasons. The lack of snow has already forced their opening to be delayed by more than a month, scheduled for December 1 and which was delayed until January 10,” he recalls. station.
Add and continue. Valle Laciana-Leitariegos is not the only one affected by the new scenario. A few days ago Valgrande-Pajares, in Asturias, informed of the closure of the station and that the cable car would remain open for tourist use during the weekend. The reason: “Current snow conditions do not allow the facility to open.” The ski season there had also started with a considerable delay, 38 days.
Something similar happened in Alto Campoo, in Cantabria, which on January 13 opened 13 of its 23 slopes. Shortly after, those in charge reported that they would take a “pause” while waiting for snowfall. The slopes of Valdesquí and Puerto de Navacerrada have not been spared from the lack of white blanket either and in Asturias the PP has even demanded that the Government of the Principality install artificial snow cannons to extend the ski season in Fuentes de Invierno after verifying the descent on snow days.
Cover image: Devesh Sangwan (Unsplash)
In WorldOfSoftware: Winter is dying. The big unknown is how many ski seasons are left ahead