Pyrenean snowfall halves in 60 years

Snow accumulation in the Pyrenees has halved since the 1950s, a new study shows, with some experts saying global temperature is to blame.

The study, carried out by Spanish environmental organization Erhin, reveals that total precipitation in the Pyrenean area has fallen by 25 percent, with the level of accumulated snow dropping by half.

The results of the study, carried out from 1984 to 2014 by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, shows the relationship between the drop in snowfall and the rise in global warming, experts say.

Between 1960 and 1975 between 5,000 and 8,000 cubic hectometres of snow fell on the Pyrenees. This figure dropped to 2,650 cubic hectometres during the last ten years.

The study shows average temperatures in the area have risen from 5C to 8C, with these higher temperatures leading to less snowfall building up on the ground.  

"The pattern of precipitation has changed," Rosa Fernández, from mountain protection body, Asociación Red Montañas, told Spanish daily La Vanguardia.

"Less snow also affects the rivers; their rhythm and flow," Fernández says.

The world experienced its hottest year on record in 2014, while many Spanish ski resorts were forced to delay opening this winter because of a lack of snow.