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Friday, May 30, 2008

Snowmen To Become The Next Endangered Species?

Since polar bears have been officially recognised as endangered, our attention turns to the next species perilously close to extinction - nivicolous hominis, known by children the world over as the common Snowman.

New research from Christoph Marty, a climatologist at the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Researchin Davos has shown a continuous and marked reduction in snow coverage at lower altitudes - indicating a critical loss of habitat for the common Snowman, normally found in gardens at an altitude of between 200 and 800 meters where the majority of Swiss children live.

The release of Marty’s research - based on records from 34 weather stations between 200 and 1,800 metres above sea level going back for at least 60 years - marks the first time that ’snow days’ at these altitudes have been investigated. The research suggests that with winter city temperatures currently hovering close to the melting point of snow we are on the verge of a tipping point, which could see snowmen wiped out forever.

Analysis of data from Italy, Austria, Germany and France shows similar patterns elsewhere in Europe.

More important, however, may be the impact of warming winters on tourism, particularly in some of the lower Swiss resorts which are already under pressure with winter snow coverage becoming more and more sparse every year.

There has so far been no official response from conservation groups, although some Snowmen have staged protests outside government buildings to raise awareness of their plight.

EcoWorldly will be monitoring reported sightings of the increasingly rare Snowman during the coming winter, and will continue to report our findings.

See also on Green Options: Bush Administration Seeks Endangered Species Status for the Elusive ‘Climate Skeptic’

Images from Wikipedia, published under a Creative Commons license. (Interestingly, the leading Wikipedia Image was taken about 100 meters from this writer’s house).

Original here

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