Climate Change Forces Chile Ski Stations To Make Fake Snow

Climate change forces Chile ski stations to make fake snow

Santiago, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Aug, 2019 ) :Once deep in powder this time of year, Chile's ski stations are fighting the ravages of climate change and pollution that have brought less and less snow to the central Andes.

Just a few decades ago, the Andes mountain range could be buried under four meters of snow, forcing the closure of access roads and requiring the use of tractors to get around.

But this year, it's snowed only three times in the Chilean Andes, and never more than 30 centimeters.

It's not just Chile affected, but the whole of the Andes where the area of snow cover in the central zone has diminished by five to 10 percent each decade, according to Raul Cordero, an academic at the University of Santiago.

"But it's not just snow cover that's decreasing, the thickness of the snow cover is also reducing," he said.

"So when we talk about a decrease of the cover of five to 10 percent, this probably signifies a much greater reduction in the volume of available snow over the Andes." Rising temperatures mean the snow line -- above which snow never melts all year round -- keeps creeping upwards.

The snow melt is even more pronounced in the central zone due to pollution from the Chilean capital, one of the most contaminated urban areas in the region.

A recent study led by Cordero found that soot, or black carbon, from Santiago was settling in the Andes and accelerating the snow melt.

As it's black, it absorbs more solar radiation and heats up quicker.

"When this pollution is over the cities it poisons people and when the wind blows, this pollution goes and is deposited on the mountains and contributes to the snow melt," said Cordero.

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