IOC: “Global Warming is Definitely a Factor” in Winter Games

As the Winter Games in Vancouver draw near, a major problem is coming to light. A record-setting January has left the city with a snow shortage:

The Olympic plans at Cypress were undercut by the warmest January on record, which kept snowmaking to a minimum. According to Environment Canada, the average temperature this year was 7.2 degrees Celsius (45 Fahrenheit), when it normally is 3.3 C (38). From Dec. 1 to Jan. 31, the area received 79 percent of its usual precipitation, but most of it was rain.

Much of the warming can be attributed to El Nino, a naturally-occuring warming trend in the Pacific. But El Nino comes around every few years — and it’s never been this hot before.

Winter Games organizers are taking notice:

[International Olympic Committee President Jacques] Rogge said global warming would be a key issue examined in awarding any future Winter Olympics.

Global warming is definitely a factor that must be taken into account in Olympic preparations,” he said.

“In awarding the event to a host city, we must look at the climate and snow conditions and geography, as well as ways to alleviate any lack of snow.”

For a more light-hearted look at the problem, Pete McMartin of the Vancouver Sun offers up 11 new rules for the “Global Warming Games”.

Photo via Flickr’s Susan Gittins