Passion for skiers, childhood dream, or the providence of an alpine village, snow fascinates… and concerns.
Under the immaculate white sheet that it deploys each winter, lie economic and strategic issues. Snow is a sparkling wonder, a promise of irrigation, a spectacle expected… but made uncertain by climate change.
Between North America and Europe, between the whispers of flakes and the rumbling of avalanches , a meteorologist studies the complex processes of snow formation and its crucial impact on flora, wildlife and human activities.
In 2017, it snowed in the Sahara and Iran, which had not happened for decades. The giraffe at Rochester Zoo in New York state found itself covered in snow and towns on the east coast of the United States were completely blocked while in western Europe ski resorts were forced to using “snow cannons” to stay open.
Global warming affecting the Earth is immediately reflected in a disruption of the movement of snow depressions in the northern hemisphere. These depressions no longer follow their traditional routes, resulting in brutal snowfall in some places and in others a “shortage” of snow.
The flora and fauna of the usually snowy areas are devastated: in the Alps, the snowpack decreases and with it, the ability of altitude plants to face winter. In Poland, bison are overwhelmed by heavy falls. The men and women whose economic survival depends on snow are helpless.
If in the medium term, the idea of a complete disappearance of snow in large areas of the northern hemisphere (especially in Western Europe) is considered, for now climate change rather produces irregularities which modify the winter ecosystem as a whole. The film ‘Neige’ (Snow) is an invitation to a trip accross the world, to think about the multiple perspectives on a phenomenon as complex as it is unpredictable…
Photo credits: Saint Thomas Production