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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 06:50 GMT
Scientist's fear for Snowdon snow
Scientists have been studying the changing snowline on the mountain for 14 years.

Snowdon could lose all its snow in less than 15 years as climate change continues to take hold, it is claimed.

Wales' highest mountain has seen its snow covering fall by about a third in 10 years, Bangor University scientists and environmentalists have found.

Measurements show significant warming on Snowdon since the 1960s. Average spring temperatures are up about 2.5C.

A Welsh assembly energy group will discuss the issue at a conference in Cardiff Bay later.

An assembly government spokesperson said First Minister Rhodri Morgan is expected to make a statement shortly on the steps Wales will be taking in the fight against climate change over the next few months

Dr Clive Walmsley, climate change expert with the Countryside Council for Wales, one of the bodies taking part in Tuesday's joint meeting in Cardiff Bay.

3d visualisation of Snowdon ((Copyright GetMapping PLC, 2006)
Could Wales' best loved mountain go from looking like this in winter...

He said: "We've been recording the snowline on the mountain for the last 14 years and over that time we've seen a distinct downward trend in the snow cover - not only in the height at which the snow is occurring but also in the season.

"For example, this year both September and October were free of snow so the season is getting shorter and the amount of snow cover on Snowdon is declining as well.

"We're linking that to the change in temperature, the rising temperature.

"We've noticed particularly in the spring period a 2 degree rise in temperature on Snowdon."

Countryside Council of Wales experts have created images using 3D computer modelling software of what Snowdon could look like without its snow.

They depict Snowdon under differing levels of snow cover, starting at the 100m snowline where you would typically expect to see snow cover in any given year.

As the climate warms, the images illustrate the snowline retreating up the mountain, finishing off with only a dusting on the peaks.

Climate change indicator

The changing climate of the mountain is like to an impact on the economy, added Dr Walmsley.

He said this would discourage walkers and mountaineers who want snow on Snowdon and eradicating species, which traditionally have their habitat in winter climes..

3d visualisation of Snowdon without any snow(Copyright GetMapping PLC, 2006)
to this in less than 15 years?

Dr Walmsley said: "The changes that we've monitored are actually quicker bearing in mind for the last two years the snow cover on Snowdon has actually been half what we'd expect in a bad year going back in time.

"So we are actually seeing more dramatic effects than might have been expected."

The Snowdon snowline is one of the assembly government's climate change indicators for Wales, along with the onset of the first daffodils in bloom.

An assembly government spokesperson said tackling climate change was down to everyone.

"A number of steps have already been taken by the Welsh Assembly Government to address carbon emissions which cause climate change, and our approach is outlined in the environment strategy published last year.

"Progress on energy efficiency, particularly in the public sector, has been encouraging.

"The assembly government obtains 90% of it supplies from renewable sources and we are looking to make this 100% by 2010."

Snowdon pictures reproduced from Ordnance Survey data with permission HMSO. Crown Copyright reserved. CCW Licence no. 10018813, 2006.




SEE ALSO
Snow 'disappears' from Snowdon'
20 Dec 04 |  North West Wales

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