Berlin: By the end of the century, 13 % of ski resorts are expected to be without natural snow, according to a study published by the University of Bayreuth, and published in the journal PLOS ONE on Thursday.

"In all major ski regions, a substantial decrease in the number of days with natural snow cover is expected under every assessed emissions scenario," said Dr. Veronika Mitterwallner, a researcher at the Chair of Sports Ecology at the University of Bayreuth.

The study looked at the world’s seven largest mountain regions, the Alps in Europe, the Andes, the Appalachians, the Australian Alps, the Japanese Alps, the New Zealand Alps and the Rocky Mountains.

However, 69% of the research, however, was focused on the largest global ski market, the European Alps.

"Climate change is significantly altering the patterns of natural snowfall, which has strong but different consequences for ski resorts worldwide," said Mitterwallner, who worked on the study.

The lack of snow is not only threatening the ski tourism but also alpine ecosystems.

The decreasing snowfall means ski resorts will have to be built in higher elevations and less densely populated regions, which could affect natural alpine ecosystems, according to the researchers.

Future ski resorts will be then placed in less populated areas, which would lead to growth in infrastructure as well as an increase in interventions such as artificial snow production and slope grooming.

The shift to less populated areas could not only lead to a decline of economic profitability, but could also be a serious threat to alpine plants and animals. Alpine species are already threatened by climate change.

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