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Pons M.,Observatori de la Sostenibilitat d'Andorra | Pons M.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | Johnson P.A.,University of Waterloo | Rosas M.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | Jover E.,Observatori de la Sostenibilitat d'Andorra
International Journal of Geographical Information Science | Year: 2014

One main argument for modeling socio-ecological systems is to advance the understanding of dynamic correlations between various human and environmental factors, including impacts and responses to environmental change. We explore the shift in skier distribution among ski resorts taking into account the behavioral adaptation of individuals due to the impact of climate change on snow conditions. This analysis is performed at a regional scale by means of a coupled gravity and georeferenced agent-based model. Four different scenarios are considered. Two scenarios assume an increase of winter mean temperature of +2°C and +4°C, respectively, taking into account only natural snow conditions. Two additional scenarios add the effect of snowmaking to enhance the natural snow depth and extend the skiing season in the +2°C and +4°C base scenarios. Results show differing vulnerability levels, allowing the classification of ski resorts into three distinct groups: (1) highly vulnerable ski resorts with a strong reduction in visitors attendance for all climate change scenarios, characterized by unfavorable geographical and attractiveness conditions, making it difficult to ensure snow availability in the future; (2) low vulnerability ski resorts, with moderate reduction in season length during a high climate change scenario but no reduction (or even an increase) in a low one, characterized by ski resorts with a medium capacity and attractiveness to ensure enough snow conditions and capture skiers from other ski resorts; and (3) resilient ski resorts, with good conditions to ensure future snow-reliable seasons and outstanding attractiveness, allowing them to offer longer ski seasons than their competitors and potentially attracting skiers from other closed or marginal resorts. Ski resorts included in this last group increase their skier attendance in all climate change scenarios. Although similar studies in the literature foretell a significant reduction of the ski market in the near future, another probable effect outlined in this study is a redefinition of this market due to a redistribution of skiers, from vulnerable ski resorts to more resilient ones. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

Jover E.,Observatori de la Sostenibilitat dAndorra | Ward A.,Observatori de la Sostenibilitat dAndorra | Buntgen U.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest
Population and Environment | Year: 2013

Correlation of long-term temperature variability and population density was investigated in an isolated mountain environment case study for the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries period. Andorra (Central Pyrenees) was chosen as a case study location due to its harsh environmental conditions and to its historical politically neutral position. Reconstructed temperatures for the eighteenth century, based on dendrochronological data, show strong statistical correlations with death inventories (rs = -0.359, p < 0.001), reflecting an increase in mortality at lower temperatures. These conclusions were extended to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, using volcanic activity data in order to compensate for a scarcity of dendrochronological data covering this period. Indirect temperature effects related to vegetation growth and crop yield have also been found. Therefore, this study demonstrates the historical influence of climate change on population density in harsh mountain areas. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Rutty M.,University of Waterloo | Scott D.,University of Waterloo | Johnson P.,University of Waterloo | Jover E.,Observatori de la Sostenibilitat dAndorra | And 2 more authors.
Canadian Geographer | Year: 2015

Weather and climate directly influence ski season length, the quality of snow conditions, and skier visits. Inter-annual climate variability, which is expected to become more pronounced under future climate change, poses an increased risk for the ski tourism industry. Using a survey (n = 2448), this study examines where and how far skiers in Ontario (Canada) are willing to travel if their ski resort was to temporarily or permanently close due to a lack of snow. The majority of respondents (≥59%) would travel to five key resorts in Ontario, with the largest share (≥27%) selecting Blue Mountain Resort. An additional 11-15% of respondents would leave Ontario, opting to travel to Quebec or the state of New York. Overall, this paper presents the first empirical evidence on the geographical patterns skiers may engage in as a result of marginal snow conditions, in addition to providing information on travel distance and time thresholds. This research is fundamental for assessing contemporary climate risk and can inform how future climate change could alter demand patterns in regional ski marketplaces. Future research needs are identified to further appraise the consequences and future viability of individual ski resorts in Ontario and the ski industry more generally. © 2015 Canadian Association of Geographers / L'Association canadienne des geographes.

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