Projects

In situ climatological and other data from the world's mountains are crucial for many applications. It follows that any limitations associated with the coverage of such data (e.g. limited spatial density of stations, short record lengths, lack of observations at higher elevations, etc.) can impinge upon several important activities, not least tracking ongoing change in mountain climates and reliably projecting future changes and their impacts.

Despite this situation, the fundamental coverage of in situ data coverage with respect to space, time, and elevation has not yet been comprehensively assessed globally. As such, comparing data coverage across different mountain regions, for instance, is impossible. Yet it is precisely this information that international organisations and other stakeholders require if they are able to make sound informed decisions around investing in new (and maintaining existing) in situ monitoring efforts.

The World Terrestrial Ecosystems (WTE) map produced by Sayre et al. (2020) offers a unique spatial representation of terrestrial ecosystems. However, several important questions must be answered to determine its utility across a range of spatial scales in mountainous terrain.

This project, which is led by Eurac Research, Italy, and is funded by Microsoft, aims to exploit the power of cloud computing, sophisticated data-driven algorithms, and recent high-resolution satellite imagery to both evaluate and improve (e.g., via downscaling) the WTE map in mountainous areas.

Effective monitoring of biodiversity in mountainous areas must consider the unique nature of such environments and the complex systems they host. 

A workshop in 2020 brought together several experts to identify the key processes associated with ecological and biodiversity change in mountains, which associated variables should be considered priorities for measuring and reporting to provide reliable information to stakeholders, including policy-makers at local to global levels, and the extent to which the identified data needs can currently be met.

Until recently, little consensus currently existed regarding which variables should be considered absolute observation priorities for monitoring and understanding the drivers, responses, and impacts of ongoing climate-driven change in global mountains.

To address this, a group of interdisciplinary mountain scientists built upon a workshop convened by GEO Mountains in June 2019 to rank numerous potentially relevant variables according to their perceived importance.

This project, led by the University of Geneva, seeks to map the coverage of national environmental treaties and their associated changes through time. 

In this way, it should be possible to visualise the protections afforded to – and governance agreements operating in – mountain regions, as well as aspects in which they are lacking, in a spatially explicit fashion. 

A need was identified to quantify the count and density of human populations living in mountainous areas in a transparent and reproducible fashion.

This project, which involved numerous partners, sought to address this information gap. 

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