The red areas in the map above show where snow levels have dropped, while green indicates areas of growth.

The University of Geneva along with the United Nations GRID-Geneva environmental data centre released a new study that shows a massive reduction in Switzerland snowpack over the past 20 years.

Just 50 years ago, Switzerland was nearly two-thirds covered in snow but today only about half of the nation is covered in permanent snow. This is according to satellite data gathered over the past two decades.

Researchers used years of images from earth observation satellites to build a picture of the receding snow. “This irrefutable observation is based on the preliminary analysis of 22 years of satellite data covering the entire Swiss territory.” said senior lecturer Gregory Giuliani.

The loss of permanent snow is over a half a million acres, which is an area over half the size of the state of Rhode Island. This is bad news for the Swiss ski industry which has already seen a large decline in the number of skier visits the Swiss Alps.

A poor exchange rate, high prices and less snow has meant that more and more skiers are looking for alternatives for their ski vacations. Over the past ten years the number of skier days across the whole of Switzerland has shrank from nearly 30,000,000 to just above 20,000,000.

Find the entire release here: Snow Cover Change in Switzerland

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