Artificial snowmaking possibilities and climate change based on regional climate modeling in the Southern Black Forest
Schmidt, Philipp; Steiger, Robert; Matzarakis, Andreas
Winter sport, especially ski tourism - is one of those sectors of tourism that will be affected by climate change. Ski resorts across the Alps and in the adjacent low mountain ranges react to warm winter seasons by investing in artificial snowmaking. But snowmaking in warm winter seasons is fraught with risk, because sufficiently low air temperature will become less frequent in the future. The present study deals with the ski resort Feldberg, which has 14 ski lifts and 16 ski slopes which is the biggest ski resort in the German Federal state Baden-Württemberg. The impact of climate change in this region is extraordinary important because winter tourism is the main source of revenue for the whole area around the ski resort. The study area is in altitudinal range of 850 to 1450 meters above sea level. At the moment, it is possible to supply one third of the whole area with artificial snow, but there is plan for artificial snowmaking of the whole Feldberg area by the year 2020. Based on this, more detailed investigations of season length and the needed volume of produced snow are necessary. A ski season simulation model (SkiSim 2.0) was applied in order to assess potential impacts of climate change on the Feldberg ski area for the A1B and B1 emission scenarios based on the ECHAM5 GCM downscaled by the REMO RCM. SkiSim 2.0 calculates daily snow depth (natural and technically produced snow) and the required amount of artificial snow for 100 m altitudinal bands. Analysing the development of the number of potential skiing days, it can be assessed whether ski operation is cost covering or not. Model results of the study show a more pronounced and rapid shortening of the ski season in the lower ranges until the year 2100 in each climate scenario. In both the A1B and B1 scenario runs of REMO, a cost-covering ski season of 100 days cannot be guaranteed in every altitudinal range even if snowmaking is considered. In this context, the obtained high-resolution snow data can provide a useful tool and decision-making aid for the economy and policies.