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Environmental impact of making snow
Has there been any study on the long term impact of man made snow? The idea of pouring chemicals over land doesn't sound like it would have the best consequences. Have we been shortening our own winters by making snow?
We haven't been shortening our winters by making snow, we've been shortening our winters by existing.
So based on a solid 5 minutes of research the only thing they add to get is to freeze is a bacteria that allows the crystal to get organized easier. The same bacteria can be harmful to some plants, but the bacteria is also found naturally. the fun stuff that comes from the skies. So at worst we would be hurting vegetation by upsetting a balance of stuff that is already there rather than introducing harmful chemicals that may potentially change the climate.
After a little research, there are no real chemicals that can damage the environment itself. The main environmental issues are the large uses of water and energy. For most snow makers it takes 74,600 gallons to cover a 200ft by 200 area with 6 inches of snow. However, much more efficient tech is being created to reduce this amount of water. Also an extremely large amount of energy is necessary to power all of this so it’s a little counterintuitive to burn fossil fuels for energy to make snow when that energy production is just contributing to the problem. Lastly the water necessary often comes from streams lakes or reservoirs which can damage aquatic life especially in the fall during trout spawning, but usually this water just ends up back in the lakes and streams.
I used to work at a snowmobile track in South Lake Tahoe, and as far as I know, when we would make snow we would add nothing to the water pumping to the guns. The grass and vegetation grow back green every summer once the man-made and natural snow melts. The one drawback to the use of snowmaking technology is the fact that some resorts don't have power lines to their runs and have to run big diesel generators to their snow guns to power them. I'm sure in time snowmaking technology will progress to the point where they use much less water and energy.
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