Future of the Alps Conference Underway in Austria


Photo credit: marbrax

Some 400 people from 20 countries have hit the slopes of the winter sports mecca of Innsbruck, Austria for three days of discussions about the future of the Alps and the impact of climate change on the winter-sports industry and tourism.

Already, last season's unseasonably warm weather and disappointingly snowfall have produced increasingly harried hotel owners, ski-resort managers, and even politicians."We have to do something ... we're in the midst of climate change," Eric Veulliet, head of the alpS-Centre for Natural Hazard Management GmbH, tells the Associated Press, emphasizing that strategies are needed for adaptation to the future. "It is too late for prevention," he notes. (Dare we say chillingly?)

In the coming years, the Alps would likely see either colder winters with less precipitation or warmer winters with more rain instead of snow, says Christian Schoenwiese, a professor at the University of Frankfurt's Institute for Atmospherics and the Environment. "Tourism venues have to rethink," he says. "It will get more difficult for those who like to go skiing." ::AP