"Sustainability of Skiing Tourism in the Tyrol region"


© Steiger



Project duration: 10.2007 - 12.2011
Objectives: Climate change poses a severe threat to ski resorts, as natural snow reliability is supposed to shift to higher elevations (Abegg et al 2007). The ski resorts answer to extraordinary warm winter seasons like 2006/07 is investing in snowmaking. Recent studies concluded that snowmaking makes ski resorts less vulnerable to climate change (Scott et al 2007, Mayer et al 2007, Steiger 2007, 2008) than climate impact studies a decade ago had postulated. But snowmaking is also at risk as periods too warm to produce snow are very likely to become more frequent. Thus more detailed investigations of both snow reliability (season length) and the needed volume of produced snow is necessary. The main goal of this study is to develop a ski season simulation model to assess the impact of climate change on ski areas in the Tyrol region. The model is run for each ski area separately.

The ski season simulation model "SkiSim" is developed based on a semi-distributed snow model of Kleindienst (2000) and a snowmaking module of Scott et al. (2003). The natural snow model is validated with meteorological data of the study area, the snowmaking module is validated by comparing modeled season length with reported season lengths of the ski areas.

A regional climate model "REMO" from the the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg/Germany (10x10km resolution) is used for future climate scenarios. Monthly changes from 2001-2100 of two emission scenarios (B1 and A1B) are downscaled to climate stations using a weather generator (LARS-WG, see Semenov & Barrow 1997).

Based on the results the stakeholders' perception of climate change and willingness to introduce adaptation measures are assessed by depth interviews.

Funding: The project is greatfully funded by the Austrian Science Funds (FWF)
Results: The SkiSim model runs are finished are published on this website. A book with the final project results will be published in 2012.
Contact: For more information or interest in collaboration please contact Robert Steiger (robert.steiger(at)uibk.ac.at)


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