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An idled snow cannon in the village of Davos Wiesen, Switzerland, on Jan. 8.

An idled snow cannon in the village of Davos Wiesen, Switzerland, on Jan. 8.

 Photographer: Francesca Volpi/Bloomberg

Green
Weather & Science

A Snowless Davos Tells the World’s Elite All They Need to Know

As the rich and powerful gather for the World Economic Forum, these photos show how the impact of global warming is getting harder to ignore.

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In the week before Davos plays its usual wintry part as host of the World Economic Forum’s annual jamboree, the biggest question isn't what might be discussed among business and political leaders, but whether there’ll be enough snow for skiing.

Though it’s perched at an altitude of 1,560 meters, this year’s rare winter heat wave saw the Swiss town basking in temperatures well above freezing in early January, with its mountainsides covered in dead, brown grass and hikers out with their dogs. The snow arrived just in time for the elite visitors, replenishing the slopes and covering the concrete conference center with its familiar frosting. More is on the way.

But 2023 is no freak year: It’s a sign of things to come in the Davos region, where the atmosphere is heating up faster than most of the planet.