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CR 54:197-207 (2012)  -  DOI:

Modeling climate change effects on winter ski tourism in Andorra

Marc Pons-Pons1,2,3,*, Peter A. Johnson3, Martí Rosas-Casals1,4, Bàrbara Sureda1, Èric Jover2

1Sustainability Measurement and Modeling Lab (SUMMLab), Universitat Politècnica
de Catalunya (UPC), EET-Campus Terrassa, 08222 Barcelona, Spain
2Observatori de la Sostenibilitat d’Andorra (OBSA), Placa de la Germandat 7, AD600 Sant Julià de Lòria, Andorra
3Department of Geography, McGill University, 805 Sherbrooke Street West Montreal, Quebec H3A 2K6, Canada
4ICREA-Complex Systems Lab, Universitat Pompeu Fabra -PRBB, Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

ABSTRACT: Mountain regions have been identified as especially vulnerable areas to climate change. Changes in snowfall, glacier retreat and shifts in levels and distribution of biodiversity are some examples of the sensitivity of mountain ecosystems. Moreover, in many mountain economies, reliable snow cover plays a key role as an important resource for the winter tourism industry, the main income source and driving force of local development in such regions. This study presents a georeferenced agent-based model to analyze the climate change impacts on the ski industry in Andorra and the effect of snowmaking as future adaptation strategy. We project a reduction in ski season length and a drop in the number of skiers, especially in the lowest elevation ski resort of this region. Moreover, this work indicates that snowmaking cannot completely solve the problem of ensuring snow cover at low elevation ski resorts, and should only be considered as a suitable short-term strategy, rather than as a sustainable long-term adaptation strategy. The resulting model can be used as a planning support tool to help local stakeholders understand the vulnerability and potential impacts of climate change, and designing and developing appropriate sustainable adaptation strategies to future climate variability.

KEY WORDS: Climate change impacts · Winter tourism · Snowmaking · Adaptation · Agent-based modeling

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Cite this article as: Pons-Pons M, Johnson PA, Rosas-Casals M, Sureda B, Jover È (2012) Modeling climate change effects on winter ski tourism in Andorra. Clim Res 54:197-207.

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