19 February 2016

Global Warming Warning

This winter so far was the warmest winter I remember in Brasov. We actually had long autumn followed by a very early spring, with just a couple of weeks in between of real frost and some snow. In Brasov we are gradually getting used to long snow-less periods during winter and this winter took this new weather patters to new and uncharted territory.

Red skies at dusk. 2016, mid February evening, and the air temperature is +18C in Brasov!
It is easy for a skier to notice changes in the weather patterns. The snow quantity and quality depends strongly on the weather. During the last decades we noticed the winters getting warmer and warmer and the weather patterns getting more and more crazy and unpredictable. One week we might get frosty weather with -25C degrees, next week it may rain or it can be sunny and feel like springtime. Or we might get heaps of snow in the middle of April...

The altitude above which snow accumulates the whole winter is slowly getting higher. In Poiana Brasov ski resort we now have 100% artificial snow covering - without it, the ski season would be very short and limited mostly at the higher parts of the mountain, above 1500m. In my opinion we are fighting a losing battle with our snow cannons! We should address the cause of the climate warming, not the effect!

A couple of weeks ago I posted some winter photos. Yes, I was quick to go out and take those photos, because it is harder and harder to get proper winter landscapes... A few days ago the temperature was +18C in Brasov. It was also very warm on the mountains, where snow below 1500m melted completely.

My daughter enjoying an increasingly rare occasion to ski in powder snow. 

I read in my Grand-grand-father memories about his youth in Brasov, how they used to travel in winter with horse sledges; how they would cover themselves with warm furs and place hot bricks on the sledge floor by their feet...
Fast forward a few generations... I hardly needed my winter boots this winter...
I recently told my daughter that her kids might not know what snow skiing is... She was so upset when I told her this, but she has to face the truth...

And there are plenty of scientific measurements that confirm the warming that we observe. More and more often we hear that the past year or month set a new global high record of temperature... For example, let's look at news about last month: January 2016 was the hottest January globally since records began in 1880. And it didn’t just edge out the previous record holder for January, it destroyed it.

Now you may ask what is the big fuss with winter. Everybody enjoys warmer weather... Well, the whole ecosystem and the agriculture in this area relies on the succession of clearly defined seasons. The winter snow blanket is supposed to protect the seeded fields, and water the crops in the springtime. The deep and long frosts are helping the forest by killing and controlling the number of bugs. We could see in the forest around Brasov that lots of trees are killed by the bark bugs. Every time we have a storm with high winds, lots of trees are falling down! And the forest workers are busy round the clock taking out of the forest the diseased and dead trees.

Yes, the skiers are the first to notice the warmer winters, but we are all affected, probably much more than we realize!

07 February 2016

Winter yet Again...

This winter was a string of highs and lows... Very warm weather alternating with cold, sometimes really freezing weather. After many days of warm weather that melted all the snow below the altitude of 1300m, it finally snowed again on Thursday!

On Friday I grabbed my camera and did a walk on the hills around Brasov, on the trails where I run so often. This time I slowed down and enjoyed the almost black and white landscape. I set my camera to black and white and I must say that I am quite pleased with the result!

Here are a few photos. The whole album can be found here.

Yesterday, with my old friend Nic and his older kids we did an exploration ski tour in Muntii Cailor. A very quiet place in winter! The weather was very windy and the snow quite scarce, but the landscapes were amazing. Again I took many photos. The whole album can be found here.

And here is the track of the day: