Artificial Snow – UPSC Prelims

Artificial Snow:
  • Snow that is injected with water to harden it and then treated with chemicals to keep the hardened snow in place, is a form of artificial snow that is recommended for winter competitions.
  • It will be used in Beijing Winter Olympics.
How is Artificial Snow produced?
  • At this Winter Olympics, TechnoAlpin machines have been used.
  • These machines produce this snow by pumping out ice particles at the same time as a thin mist of water vapour.
  • Both these particles are launched up to 60 metres in the air where they combine to become snow and then fall to the ground.
Why is Artificial Snow harmful according to the report?
  • Impact on Athletes: Athletes are at a greater risk when competing on artificial snow, as it tends to create a faster and harder surface, which can cause more severe injuries when falls occur.
  • Impact on Environment: High volumes of water and energy are required to create artificial snow. The region of Beijing is low on water. According to a Greenpeace study in 2018, China’s glaciers had melted by 82% and one-fifth of the ice cover had been lost since the 1950s. Hence, this is bound to have some impacts in a region where there is nearly no water.

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