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As the climate warms, some experts say the use of artificial snow for winter sports will be the norm. At the 2022 Winter Games underway in Beijing, human-made snow is featured in several events. This week on Science Behind the Forecast, I spoke with WAVE 3 Meteorologist Tawana Andrew about how climate change is affecting the Winter Olympics and how it could influence where future games are held.

“The changing climate is going to start to really interrupt and impact where and when the Winter Olympics are held,” Andrew said. “Studies have found that average February temperatures in previous host cities have jumped considerably since the 1920s. A study from the University of Arkansas found that those temperatures have risen from an average February daytime high of about 32 degrees in the 1920s to about 43 degrees in the 21st century.” 

Andrew said warmer temperatures mean less snow and more rain for alpine or cross country skiing. She said changing climate conditions mean a lot of thought will have to be given to where winter sports competitions are held.

“Otherwise, there’s going to be a lot of fake snow for the Winter Olympics and that’s really going to change how the athletes have to train, and of course, how they compete,” she said.

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for WFPL News.