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Global warming cools hopes for Dutch skating race October 25, 2008

Posted by honestclimate in Temperature.
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Global warming cools hopes for Dutch skating race

From Yahoo News, October 24, 2008

 AP – Skaters pass a windmill at the village of Birdaard, northern Netherlands, on this Jan. 4, 1997

AP – Skaters pass a windmill at the village of Birdaard, northern Netherlands, on this Jan. 4, 1997

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Global warming is taking a heavier toll than previously thought on a grueling 120-mile speedskating marathon over frozen rivers and canals linking 11 towns in northern Holland.

A study published Friday by the respected Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency said the race is likely to be held only once every 18 years because of higher winter temperatures. Three years ago, it estimated the likelihood at once every 10 years.

Organizers insist on a minimum thickness of 6 inches of ice along virtually the entire route in the northern province of Friesland to ensure it is safe enough to carry thousands of skaters.

The rule means that races have always been rare. Known locally as the Elfstedentocht, it has only been held 15 times since the first official event in 1909.

“In 2005, we calculated once in 10 years, and mainly due to warm winters that came afterwards we had to change our estimate to once every 18 years so there is … a steep decline,” one of the report’s authors, Arthur Petersen, said in a telephone interview. “That’s purely caused by climate change.”

The report, based on temperature readings from the Dutch national meteorological institute, was produced independently of the race organizing committee.

“The report shows that the chance of staging the 11 Cities Race is decreasing, but this does not mean that we will never have the race again,” said Sybe Bruining, national secretary of the committee, in a telephone interview.

Despite German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II, there were four races in the 1940s — three of them during the war.

There were two in the 1950s and then in 1963, which was recognized as the toughest ever because of a strength-sapping combination of icy temperatures, strong winds and snow.

A gap followed of 22 years until back-to-back races in 1985 and 1986. Since then, the only race was in 1997, won by brussels sprouts farmer Henk Angenent in 6 hours and 49 minutes — less the half the original winner’s time.

Petersen acknowledges says the Elfstedentocht is a way of focussing the public’s attention on the climate change issue.

“It’s an icon for climate change, but of course it is not the most important effect of climate change … that’s more related to flooding and to agriculture,” he said.




1. Ron de Haan - October 25, 2008

The original article was offered to Springer Verlag in 2006 and this “respected” Environmental Assessment Agency” (if there are any) is a Governmental Agency part of a Department,

I hope the authors are aware that our climate is cooling since 1998.

I also hope the article was not intended to influence public opinion in support of the Governments Agenda to prepare the general public for the carbon trade schemes which bill in the end is paid by the same tax payers that paid for writing this article in the first place!

As the world is cooling it will not take much time before we will see the return of the winters that are cold enough to support the famous Elfstedentocht.

I hope it will happen soon because CO2 has nothing to do with the temperature on this planet. So why tax it?

2. Roger from Solar Power Facts - October 26, 2008

I reckon they should hold the race anyway. If it’s being televised the occasional disaster of a skater disappearing beneath the ice will cause a spike in ratings, and may even feature on the nightly news.

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