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Mother Nature’s cruel blow?

Written By: - Date published: 11:21 am, June 25th, 2011 - 18 comments
Categories: climate change, economy - Tags: ,

Things are bad for the ski industry:

No snow: Mother Nature’s cruel blow

Unseasonably warm weather is keeping skiers off the slopes and putting pressure on the multimillion-dollar ski industry at popular tourist destinations around New Zealand.

Weather analysts expect snow to fall soon, but none of the main skifields – including Turoa and Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu in the North Island and Mt Hutt, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables in the South Island – are open. …

Ski Areas Association spokesman Miles Davidson said 1.4 million people visited the country’s 25 skifields last year. “It’s huge for the economy, especially in regions like Canterbury, Southern Lakes and Ruapehu.

I’m sure that everyone sympathises, and hopes that the snows come soon. Even so I can’t help but feel that the headline is a little over the top. “Mother Nature’s cruel blow?”. Seems to me there’s a fairly strong case that humanity threw the first punch.

18 comments on “Mother Nature’s cruel blow? ”

  1. Jenny 1

    Global warming…..

    A clear and present danger…..

    For once the Herald tells it like it is…..

    From Australia:
    Life getting harder for many despite mining boom

    Like the North Sea Oil Bonanza which delivered no long term benefits to Scotland or other North Sea countris – The drive by Big Coal for more mines in this country will leave no long lasting social and economic benefit for local communities and businesses.

    On the contrary, increased coal mining will definitely leave terrifying and long lasting environmental risks for generations.

    The only ‘Social Good’. the huge profits to be extracted along with the coal that will be shipped off shore or shovelled into the bank accounts of a few privileged locals.

    The mining lobby are not only proven environmental vandals, but they are also social and economic vandals as well. Their only concern is for the profits accrued to themselves. http://www.campaignformmp.org.nz/Damn the communities where the mines are sited, damn the environment, damn the safety and welfare of the mine workers. Profit is all the mining lobby are concerned with.

    • ‘We’ have been crapping on indigenous people for hundreds of years, in our mad rush to strip all natural resources, like Guano for our farmers, or slaves for the US economy etc, Inca gold, American Indians for their land The Niger Delta is another one, the ‘norm’ is for multi national companies to move into a country and strip mine whatever they want ,,, like Amazon trees, or Texaco in South America leaving massive amounts of carcinogens all over the landscape and throughout the water table, strip mining the oceans. Tin miners for our cell phones.
      So nothing new with coal mining in Australia or New Zealand, it is just happening in our back yard for a change, stripping our land to produce milk for the planet is just another form of mining, which is also turning our country into a cesspool.
      We as part of the rich west have benefited form all this rape and pillage, just like we benefited from the Japanese nuclear power industry (Sony TV anyone?)
      So it is kind of what goes around comes around. We have passively sat and watched or consumed everything the mining companies have done or created, another great example of planet fuckers are baby’s nappies, every maternity ward is in fact a factory to manufacture exploiters … us.
      Maybe it is a case of let he/she without sin cast the first stone.

  2. weka 2

    “I’m sure that everyone sympathises, and hopes that the snows come soon”
    I sympathise – I know people that will be hurting in their weekly pay packets if the ski season fails this year – but I don’t hope the snow comes soon. Failure of the ski season this year would be one of the best things for making NZers think about how ridiculously dependent our economy is on things we can’t control like the weather and oil dependent tourism. Over the next 20-50 years it’s likely that that we will have more years of no snow, best we start preparing for that now (we’re also likely to see a collapse of tourism due to peak oil, best we prepare for that too).

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    This reinforces Professor Callaghan’s point that we can’t rely on tourism, it generates too little income per employee (I think the figure was around $80K of tourist revenue per tourism sector employee) to ever create many good paying jobs.

    We have to look at creating and supporting industries where $50,000 p.a. and $60,000 p.a. jobs are the usual, not $13/hr and $14/hr jobs.

  4. J Mex 4

    This is a dangerous game to play, Anthony.

    If you want to accept this season as evidence of global warming, then you have to accept the 2008 NZ ski season (one of the best and longest ski seasons in many decades) as evidence against it.

    • NickS 4.1


      Anyhow, this years problems lie firmly on La Nina which has pushed temperatures up and stopped polar air making it’s way to NZ. Though increases in average winter temps due to climate change isn’t exactly helping either.

      Also, snow fall relies not only on sub zero air temps, as sufficient air moisture is also needed for snow formation. So the slightly drier winter conditions in the south aren’t helping either, as often the big Nor’west events during winter can dump close to 50cm of snow down to 1600m in the right conditions in Arthur’s Pass and the Inland + Seaward Kaikoras. Along with snow fall on the +2000m areas of the Southern Alps, such as the ice fields which feed the glaciers.

      So yeah, this winter’s more a case of multiple weather problems, all of which are probably linked to the current La Nina event, and the ski fields probably wont be opening till late July unless we get a significant southerly front. But with the current weather patterns resulting in highs rolling off Australia and dragging in warm air and so screwing up usual winter weather patterns I don’t expect one anytime soon…

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Actually, as I understand it, they could both be evidence for global warming. Warmer air carries more water resulting in record snow dumps when the conditions are right but, IIRC, the North Island is expected to get drier overall with some places (The Central Plateau being one) being even drier.

    • weka 4.3

      “If you want to accept this season as evidence of global warming, then you have to accept the 2008 NZ ski season (one of the best and longest ski seasons in many decades) as evidence against it.”
      Does it matter? We know CC is happening. We know that local weather patterns are something we need to take into account when planning our lives and futures. Who cares if snow or lack of it is a result of CC or something that would have happened anyway. Is it even possible to separate those two things out now? Unless you are a CC scientist or someone trying to rebuke CC deniers, I can’t see the point.

    • r0b 4.4

      If you want to accept this season as evidence of global warming

      Ahh – where did I say that exactly?

      All the post meant to say (with link to the Guardian piece on extreme weather) was that as extreme weather events become more common (and that includes both no snow and excessive snow), we shouldn’t blame “mother nature”, we should blame ourselves.

  5. randal 5

    blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.

  6. aj 6

    We are only 3 weeks into 3 month’s worth of winter. It only takes one decent storm. Having said that, Queenstown may be a great place to buy a house later this year….
    Meantime, those with longer memories recall the bad snow years of the late 60’s and 70’s…

  7. RedLogix 7

    It’s certainly been a weirdly warm winter so far. But what’s really odd is just how warm the nights are… rarely dropping below 9 degC apart from the few nights clear enough to have been frosty.

    You really have to hope that this IS just weather.

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8

    Damn! Does this mean NZ will now have to spend $1 billion trying to win back the Americas Cup to keep tourists amused?

    (Warmer oceans = more likely it will snow. Warmer land = more likely the snow will melt on impact.)

  9. M 9

    ‘Seems to me there’s a fairly strong case that humanity threw the first punch.’

    Very apt – humans thinking they can go to the Mother Nature casino and win. It’s dumbarses like Key and Brownlee who haven’t yet discovered that the house always wins and who keep trotting out the same message of growth that will only serve to hasten our destruction.

  10. millsy 10

    Im more worried about the workers at the skifield. What do people expect them to live on, fresh air?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      There is no doubt that we need more jobs in a more diversified economy. And that tourist operations around the country are currently struggling.

  11. nadis 11

    And yet the Australian ski resorts are having one of their best season openings ever.

    I think the sooner both sides of the debate refrained from “it’s really hot/cold today, that proves/disproves AGW” the sooner a proper scientific discussion can take place.

    Anecdotes are great but for every + anecdote someone else has a – one.

    But in that vein I do remember ski season at Whakapapa usually started on Queens Birthday weekend (late 70s/early 80s).

    I write this from the Southern Lakes district and there are lots of seasonal workers (generally visitors to the region) struggling already. Cardrona is providing free lunches to staff next week, NZ Ski has been distributing food parcels.

  12. JonL 12

    It’s still only June, fer chrissakes…..

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