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Climate change at Utah ski resorts: Impacts, perceptions, and adaptation strategies

Resource type: Composite Resource
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Created: Jan 13, 2019 at 6:59 a.m.
Last updated: Oct 12, 2020 at 3:05 p.m.
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Content types: Multidimensional Content 
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Project Abstract:
Human-caused climate change poses a threat to the ski industry and communities that rely on ski tourism. However, resorts may be able to mitigate some of the social and economic impacts using adaptation strategies. We analyze historical weather data, future climate projections and interviews with Utah ski resort managers to investigate the effects of climate change for ski resorts across the state of Utah (USA). We investigated past trends at all Utah resorts from 1981 – 2018, and future projections for Utah from 2020 – 2100 under two different climate change scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 2.6 and RCP 8.5). We also conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with Utah resort mangers to understand how they perceive climate change impacts, adaptation strategies, and barriers to adaptation. We found that resorts in Utah are warming faster than global averages, with an increase in mean maximum temperatures by 1.5°C - 2.6°C from 1981 - 2018 during the ski season. By the end of the century, Utah could warm an additional 5.7°C under RCP 8.5. Resort managers are concerned about shorter season lengths, shifting ski seasons, less snow cover, and less quality snow. Resorts are already adapting by using snowmaking and diversifying offerings. However, barriers to adaption include financial costs plus low temperatures and adequate water availability for snowmaking. Climate change is already impacting resorts, but adaptation practices are likely to reduce the negative impacts at most of the the Utah ski resorts from a warming climate.

This repository contains the data and code for the quantitative analysis section of the project. Each folder in the content section contains the code and the data corresponding to a figure in the results of the paper (PAPER IN WORKING).

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Resource Level Coverage


Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
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East Longitude
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Additional Metadata

Name Value
Snow Density Data Source : SNOTEL


Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
National Science Foundation 1633756

How to Cite

Saley, T., H. Akbar, R. Hager, E. Wilkins (2020). Climate change at Utah ski resorts: Impacts, perceptions, and adaptation strategies, HydroShare, http://www.hydroshare.org/resource/f528f92d8a47464d906058dd2882ba7c

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.



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