Anyone involved in the winter tourism industry knows what uncertainty feels like.
Snow is currency, and climate change could deliver a damaging blow to businesses that depend on wintry weather, according to a recent study.
“Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States,” by two University of New Hampshire researchers, spells out the potentially dire consequences of warmer temperatures and less snow. It could also cause radically divergent weather patterns — unusual extremes that Washington and Oregon have seen to some degree this winter.
In the Northwest, some agencies are already taking steps to prepare for a new reality of a changing climate. Others have been reluctant to respond — or even speak publicly about the issue at all.
But many observers say the economic implications of climate change are real, even if they haven’t entirely come into focus.
“It affects everyone, whether they know it or not,” said Julie Koeberle, a hydrologist in Oregon with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.