On 28 April 2023 the MRI, GEO Mountains, and iLEAPS hosted a workshop that aimed to enhance the disciplinary and geographical representation in the consultation processes seeking to establish a set of EMCVs.

Following some words of welcome on behalf of the MRI and GEO Mountains, the workshop began with an introduction to the iLPEAS network by Dr. Garry Hayman (UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology). Dr. James Thornton (MRI and GEO Mountains) then briefly introduced the previous work that has been conducted on the topic, and a potential “roadmap” for future activities, in his presentation “EMCVs: The state of play”. 

In particular, the vision was set out for an accessible geodatabase containing globally consistent layers of EMCVs from which spatio-temporal subsets can be readily made and exported. This database would provide a ready-made “baseline” set of observations for scientific studies in mountain regions (which could be complemented by additional measurements or data for a specific project or question), and should moreover be directly useful for global assessments such as the IPCC reports, where global consistency and inter-comparability are key. Instances where identified EMCVs cannot currently be met by existing datasets would be highlighted and prioritised for further work by the community. 

The participants, who were drawn from several continents and had varied disciplinary backgrounds, were then treated to two highly insightful and relevant invited presentations. The first was given by Dr. Xianhong Meng (University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences), and was entitled Coupled water-energy-carbon processes over the Yellow River source area on the Tibetan Plateau: Observations and modeling, current status, and future directions. The presentation illustrated the extensive and multi-disciplinary monitoring efforts that are being undertaken across several sites in the region. Moreover, the crucial importance of these in situ observations for evaluating and diagnosing the performance of land surface models in such settings was emphasised. 

EMCV workshop 4

Pictured above: Dr. Xianhong Meng's presentation "Coupled water-energy-carbon processes over the Yellow River source area on the Tibetan Plateau: Observations and modeling, current status, and future directions."

The second presentation was given by Dr. Rob Rebelling from EUMETSAT, and was entitled “EUMETSAT’s contribution to climate studies: An overview”. EUMETSAT has published over 200 ECV data records (as of April 2023). Several products that have been developed in mountainous terrain (in Switzerland) were shown in more detail. Dr. Rebelling’s presentation also highlighted the importance of common standards and transparency, and moreover touched upon approaches for evaluating the utility of an ECV dataset for a given application. 

The slides presented are available here.

Following a coffee break, participants were invited to form small groups, and the open discussion component of the workshop began. The first discussion and group activity sought to specify, for a subset of potential EMCVs, baseline or minimum observational requirements such as spatial resolution, frequency, latency, accuracy/uncertainty) per variable such that the corresponding datasets will be broadly useful for general applications in mountain settings. In the second activity, participants sought to identify currently existing datasets that are able to meet these needs, or conversely highlight variables for which reasonable EMCV needs cannot currently be met. 

EMCV workshop 3

Pictured above: Small group discussion and activity to specify a subset of potential EMCVs.

Although the need to take a step back from one’s own work and differences between different types of mountain and high elevation regions make these tasks very challenging, some good progress on these tasks was made. GEO Mountains is extremely grateful to all participants for contributing their time and knowledge, and look forward to continuing to pursue this iterative, consultative process in an inclusive fashion. 

Overall, despite coming at the end of the long and intense EGU week, good discussions were held amongst those present, with further valuable contributions made by online participants. Several colleagues expressed interest in remaining heavily involved in the process going forwards. The MRI is extremely grateful to iLEAPS for the support they provided to the workshop, and the two organisations are exploring options for joint proposal submissions in the months ahead.

Cover image by James Thornton

supported by

MRI logo blueCNR logoAatASDCGEO


Back to top