Olympic_RingsBy Russell McLendon

Source:  Mother Nature Network

Posted Feb. 12, 2014

“Winter is getting weirder, and a coalition of Olympic athletes has seen enough. As Sochie’s Winter Olympics threaten to become the warmest in history, more than 100 Olympians have signed a petitions urging world leaders to take action against climate change.

Sochi is just the latest in a string of summery Winter Games, and the athletes say their sports are in danger unless an Olympic-style effort is launched to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. Although climate change can also promote wild winter weather like a recent spate of U.S. snowstorms, those unusual outbursts do little to offset the long global slog toward warmth, especially in winter-sports hotspots like Vancouver or Sochi.

‘Snow conditions are becoming much more inconsistent, weather patterns are more erratic, and what was once a topic for discussion is now reality and fact,’ U.S. cross-country skier Andrew Newell says in a statement released this week by the U.S.-based Protect Our Winters campaign. ‘Our climate is changing and we are losing are winters.’

At least 105 Olympians from 10 different countries have signed the petition so far, including 85 Americans. They want world leaders to carry on their Olympic spirit from Sochi to Paris, where a major U.N. climate summit will be held in 2015.

‘For the next two weeks, I’ll be in Sochi giving it my all on the ski course, just like thousand of Olympic athletes from around the world, putting politics, religion, all of our differences aside,’ Newell says. ‘Coming together for something that is bigger than one individual, or even one country. Next year in Paris, world leaders will also have that chance. Previous climate conferences have ended with nothing to show for it, but Paris needs to be different. We can’t risk inaction any longer and we’re asking our world leaders to come together in the spirit of something bigger than just our individual goals.’

Temperatures in Sochi have already topped 60 degrees Fahrenheit this week, creating slushy conditions that have frustrated many skiers and snowboarders. But the problem goes far beyond Sochi, as highlighted in a recent study led by University of Waterloo researcher Daniel Scott. Of the 19 cities that have previously hosted a Winter Olympics, as few as 10 may still be cold enough by 2050 to host again, according to the study.”

For the rest of the article and a nifty infographic on The Winter Olympics in a Warming World go HERE.