Sochi, Russia knows what happens when temperatures rise above 32 degrees F. The Winter Olympics is less fun in the slush. Anticipating this challenge could arise at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Olympic organizers have a contingency plan.

There is a plan, and it does not include helicopters and hay bales. Sochi organizers, fully aware of the problems in Vancouver, have installed what they say is the biggest snowmaking operation in Europe. More than 400 snowmaking cannons, each looking a bit like a jet engine, are continually spitting streams of crystals for next year’s Olympics.

On the advice of a Finnish company called Snow Secure, the goal this season is to stockpile 500,000 cubic meters of snow into 10 shady pockets above the venues. The massive piles will be covered by insulated blankets, not unlike giant yoga mats, to protect them from the heat of summer.

Up to half of the saved snow may melt by next winter, but the site managers said they could conduct the Olympics even in the unlikely event that no natural snow falls next winter.”

Anticipating a challenge, free markets have delivered a partial solution. This dance step will be seen again and again in our hotter future. This is why I wrote Climatopolis.

[Originally posted at The Reality-based Community]

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Matthew Kahn is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles's Institute of the Environment. He specializes in the environmental consequences of urban growth and related quality-of-life issues.