GIS – KliSchee


Adaptation of Winter Sports Tourism in the German Low Mountain Ranges to Climate Change and Weather Variability

In the German low mountain regions, winter tourism is traditionally the most important economic factor which has a significant influence on the economic prosperity and development of these mountain regions. The adaptation to the expected climatic changes in snow sports will have to be taken into account in spatial development concepts and planning tasks in the future; this poses a challenge for application-oriented research. This is an area of policy and research that has hardly been developed in Germany.

Our Research Questions:

  • What are the spatial changes in snow safety that we have to prepare for and over which periods of time?
  • Which areas are available for skiing at certain times?
  • How can "stranded investments" in infrastructures be avoided against this background?
  • Which adaptation strategies can be developed for the German low mountain ranges?

Local Snow Potential and Future Change Scenarios

The project GIS-KliSchee pursued the goal to record the local snow potential and to provide probable change scenarios derived from regional climate model calculations on the basis of climate data, relief, surface types, flow field and solar radiation. The integration into a Geographical Information System (GIS) enabled the integration of data on existing infrastructure facilities, ecological priority areas and economic parameters, so creating an expert system that can be used for spatial planning, with which investment decisions can be prepared and - depending on snow potential - different adaptation strategies proposed.

Our Differentiated Planning Instrument

GIS-KliSchee combined a spatially differentiated approach to natural spatial features in the form of relief, snow supply and snowmaking potential with infrastructure facilities, protected areas for nature and landscape and other anthropogenic spatial elements. This created a differentiated planning instrument for the further development of winter sports destinations. In addition to the specific combination of a clear representation of the snow potential, anthropogenic landscape features and infrastructure, the following points were methodologically new:

  • The use of a meteorological model to estimate the snow potential in the mesoscale range with < 3 km spatial resolution, supplemented by the
  • Topoclimatological spatial differentiation of the snow sports potential, including remote sensing data, which enables statements to be made on the snow potential in the subkilometer range with < 250 m, and
  • the consolidation of all decision-relevant data levels in one expert system.
Funding Funding was provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

The responsibilities in the joint project were distributed as follows: