Expert: Significantly less snow is “the hard truth” in Czechia’s future
The post-Christmas months are when many Czech families hit the slopes for skiing holidays. However, recent weather patterns have thrown a wrench in those plans for a snow filled getaway. Temperatures in the country are currently well above the seasonal average, a symptom of an ever changing climate, as Šimon Bercha, hydrologist at the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, explained to me.
“The average temperature for the Czech Republic in January is -1.3 degrees Celsius, and for February it’s – 0.4 degrees Celsius. If you look out the window, it’s so much warmer than it should be right now. When it comes to snow, it should definitely be on the mountains and on the hills which are at medium sea level. The water storage in the snow covered areas should be six times greater during this time of year. Unfortunately, snow is only in the mountain regions, and we’re currently suffering from floods, rain, and melting snow, especially in the Krkonoše and Hrubý Jeseník mountains. The current state of the weather in the Czech Republic is how it would typically be at the end of March or beginning of April.”
So it seems as if we’ve fast-tracked to spring weather already, even though it’s still considered winter?
“Yes, unfortunately. But it’s the truth.”
This is a country that loves winter sports. Recent winter sporting events have been impacted by the lack of snow – a major cross-country skiing event and biathlon. What does this mean for Czechia’s tradition of winter sports, if the months that are supposed to be filled with snow no longer are?
“I don’t think this means that Czechia’s tradition of winter sports is ending. But we have to prepare for the fact that there will be more and more winters where we cannot practice winter sports at all, or only to a limited extent. I think this is not only the case of the Czech Republic, but also the whole of Europe. It’s the case right now and will also continue going forward. I think in the future, there won’t be fixed dates for winter sport events, and we will have to adapt to the current weather.”
Is this lack of snow a trend that is projected to continue? Or is this just a blip we are seeing in the weather patterns?
“I’m a bit of a pessimist, because if we look at the data from the last 20 years and compare it with the data from the 80’s, there is a clear negative trend. We have to prepare ourselves for the fact that there will only be snow in the highest part of our mountains – from about 1,000 meters above sea level. The lower areas are likely to have a problem with snow in the future. It’s a pity, but unfortunately it’s the truth in Central Europe, and it could be the hard truth throughout Europe and North America.”