Climate experts agree that there are means by which many sports can adjust to the changes, including moving sports indoors, enlisting snow blowers or irrigation systems or swapping out grass for weatherproof artificial turf. (Studies have found that fake grass, however, poses its own heat hazard — with surface temperatures reportedly reaching upward of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. ) Iditarod trail-breakers can also continue to build ice bridges and cut down trees.
And last fall, for the first time ever, the traditional Invercharron Highland games in Sutherland, Scotland, were canceled because of unusually hot, dry weather. “The impacts will only get worse,” Forster says. “It is a good illustration of the way climate change does affect the day-to-day lives of individuals around the world".
"Like sea level rise, we can see a marker of climate change in the increased energy of waves," says Borja Reguero, a researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an author of one of the studies.
Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds in England, says climate change is even forcing the cancellation of some athletic events.
Organizers of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo announced in April a shuffling of start times designed to help marathoners, race walkers, triathletes and rugby players avoid the midday heat. (The marathon course is also being coated with a heat-blocking resin to cool surface temperatures on the road.
To keep their runs snowy enough for skiers and snowboarders, resort operators are resorting more frequently to making their own snow or trucking it in, says Hans Peter Schmid, director of atmospheric environmental research at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.
An analysis by the Climate Impact Lab, a U. S. -based collaboration of 30 climate scientists and other experts, indicates that over the next 20 years, many ski resorts in the United States may be forced to open later in the season and close earlier — because of a sharp decline in the number of days at or below freezing.
And with high summer temperatures raising the risk for heat strokes — notably among runners and football, tennis and soccer players — event organizers are working to protect competitors and spectators.
"I’m the weather support guru for surfers who hop around the planet and chase waves," says Sponsler, a self-taught forecaster in Castro Valley, California, who uses data from weather satellites and ocean buoys to predict ocean swells.
High temperatures and extreme weather events are making it hard to maintain playing fields and golf courses in the summer and ski runs and skating rinks in the winter.