Friday, May 6, 2011

'Bubble Wrap' Could Boost' Skiing Says UHI Professor

BBC reports Prof John McClatchey has carried out experiments in the Cairngorms (Scotland) using a bubble plastic used to cover outdoor swimming pools. He said it would slow down the melting of snow by protecting it against rain and sunshine. McClatchey said weak points on a piste - where the snow melts quicker than on the rest of the slope - could be protected to prolong its use. "I experimented with a series of covers for the snow using bubble plastic used to over outdoor swimming pools (...)I used single coverings, double coverings and ones painted silver to increase the reflectivity". He said on areas covered in just clear plastic it had the effect of reducing melting caused by rain, wind and warmer temperatures.
Similar methods have been tested in the Alps and North America. However, Prof McClatchey said it could work better in Scotland because of a lack of sunshine to warm up the plastic.
The climatologist at the new University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has been investigating a decline in ski days in Scotland over the past 30 years as part of wider research into climate change. Previously, he was a director at Shetland College and a professor of climatology at Northampton University.
CairnGorm Mountain is one best places to ski in the UK, as well as boasting Scotland's only funicular railway. It's also Scotland's most popular resort and is located just a short distance from the main A9 arterial route which runs between Perth and Inverness. CairnGorm offers 400 vertical metres from the top station to the base station with the longest run running 3.3 kms. In total, 12 lifts including the funicular train service the resort, which includes 7 green runs, 6 blue, 8 red and 1 black piste.

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