In the winter I cross country ski and I skate. For the rest of the year I bike and I paddle. But the weather is changing with climate change. And those changes are making it harder to keep doing my activities. Last winter the weather flipped between -30°C and freezing rain. This made it extremely hard to keep skiing. In the summer, the temperatures spiked for several days making outdoor activities pretty challenging and potentially dangerous. So what does this mean for outdoor sports?
Wilkins et al. (2021) found that summer sports will likely decrease with hotter temperatures from climate change. The change is going to be significant: 18% decrease across the US during the summer season.
In the winter, the evidence looks like activities will increase by about 12% but they won’t be the same. Activities like downhill skiing and cross country skiing are probably going to get tougher with less snow. But warmer weather will still draw people outside. So what will they be doing? Probably things like winter mountain biking that don’t require the same level and consistency of snow as skiing does.
I was curious how Wilkins et al. (2021) did their research. How did they figure out how things would change? They used geotags on social media over a period of 14 years. They looked at how daily temperature maximums and the number of people on public lands were connected. This means that this research is based on what has been happening for the past one and a half decades. It isn’t hypothetical, it’s reality.
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