Climate Change Has Affected Sports
Climate change and the rise in sea levels could have a devastating effect on elite and grassroots sports in the United Kingdom, a new report has revealed. OSLO (Reuters) – Golf, cricket and soccer are suffering from wetter weather linked to climate change in Britain, the nation which laid down the modern rules for the games, a study said on Wednesday.
The Climate Coalition says that extreme weather has already started affecting the UK sports industry. More downpours meant pitches and fairways were more likely to be soggy or unplayable while sea level rise was also aggravating erosion of coastal golf courses in Scotland, such as Montrose which dates back to 1562. The Climate Coalition says golf, football and cricket face an “unexpected threat”, with cricket to be the “hardest hit”. It adds that rising winter temperatures mean the Scottish skiing industry could collapse within 50 years.
The PICC’s Kate Sambrook and Piers Forster wrote in the report: “Cancelled football matches, flooded cricket grounds and golf courses crumbling into the sea: climate change is already impacting our ability to play and watch the sports we love.”
The main problem is that six of the seven wettest years on record in Britain have been since 2000, said Piers Forster, a professor of climate change at the University of Leeds who contributed to the study.”Britain is particularly susceptible to storms coming in from the North Atlantic,” he told Reuters. Rain, extreme weather and erosion meant “cancelled football matches, flooded cricket grounds and golf courses crumbling into the sea,” it said.
Climate change affecting golf:
Steve Isaac, director of golf course management at the R&A, the governing body for golf outside the United States and Mexico, said in the report that he reckoned golf was “more impacted by climate change than any sport aside from skiing”.
Coastal golf courses were suffering from storm surges and a rise in sea levels, caused by a melt of ice from Greenland to the Himalayas.
In the Greater Glasgow area alone there was a 20 per cent reduction in playing time on golf courses in 2016/2017 compared with 2006/2007.
Montrose Golf Links, one of the oldest courses in the world, has seen the North Sea advance 70 meters towards the course in the last 30 years, forcing some holes to be realigned and some abandoned. Chris Curnin, director at Montrose Golf Links, said: “As the sea rises and the coast falls away, we’re left with nowhere to go. Climate change is often seen as tomorrow’s problem – but it’s already eating away at our course.”
“In a perfect storm we could lose 5-10 meters over just a couple of days and that could happen at pretty much any point.”
“It is a fact that increased rainfall and extreme events are causing more disruption in recreational golf,” says Richard Windows of the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI).
Montrose, for instance, has moved tees and fairways inland because of erosion, said Chris Curnin, director at the Montrose Golf Links. Dredging and natural shifts in the North Sea explained some of the erosion, of 70 meters in places.
“Climate change and rising seas are accelerating the retreat,” he told Reuters. U.S. President Donald Trump, who doubts that greenhouse gas emissions are the prime driver of climate change, owns two courses in Scotland.
Climate change affecting cricket:
The England and Wales Cricket Board said it was suffering from less predictable weather. Twenty-seven per cent of England’s home One Day Internationals were played with reduced overs since 2000 due to rain disruptions, the study said.
Cardiff-based club Glamorgan have lost 1,300 hours of cricket since 2000 as a result of extreme weather and rainfall. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) spent £1m in emergency grants in 2016 and £1.6m in 2017 to support clubs and restore their facilities and have set aside £2.5m a year for small grants to help club sides keep matches on.
The future of county cricket is in jeopardy, according to Dan Cherry, the head of operations at Glamorgan, where the rate of rain-affected matches has more than doubled since 2011. “Our experience is becoming the norm for almost every club and it’s difficult even for first-class counties to be commercially viable with such an impact,” Cherry said. “It’s been worst in recent years – during the 2017 season five of our seven T20 Blast fixtures were badly affected by rain, with three being totally abandoned. T20 Blast is a great way to get new people through the gates but they won’t come back if this keeps happening and it’s damaged the club to the tune of £1m. If we don’t take it seriously, climate change will fundamentally alter the game.”
“There is clear evidence that climate change has had a huge impact on the game in the form of general wet weather and extreme weather events,” said ECB national participation manager Dan Musson.
Climate change affecting football:
Climate change affecting Scottish ski industry:
The report says that the Met Office has warned that the Scottish skiing industry could collapse within as little as 50 years as winters become “too mild for regular snowfall”.
Continuous decreases in snow cover have already been observed over the past 40 years, with three of Scotland’s main resorts spending more than half their operating budgets on artificial snow factories after a particularly bad 2016/17 season. “If these trends continue, disaster looms, with potentially devastating consequences for local economies in the Scottish mountains,” said the report.