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Climate Change in High Mountain Regions: From Understanding of the Past to Modelling of the Future (2011)
120 scientists from all over the world met in Salzburg last week for an international conference, Climate Change in High Mountain Regions: From Understanding of the Past to Modelling of the Future, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of Austria’s Sonnblick Observatory.
Research in diverse fields from the Alps and other mountain regions worldwide presented at the conference emphasizes both the particular sensitivity of mountain regions to climate change and the key role mountain observatories play in understanding forcings and feedback in the global climate system. Studies from high altitude sites and environmental observatories such as Sonnblick clearly show the effect of CO2, other gases, and aerosols on the radiation budget and related warming of the atmosphere. Shrinking glaciers and disappearing snow cover are obvious consequences of global change that are highly relevant for mountain hydrology and downstream river catchments due to changes in annual cycling and the amount of river flow. This is particularly true in Asian and South American mountain regions upon which so many depend. The relevance of such findings to areas well beyond mountain regions shows how important both natural and anthropogenic climate forcings and their interactions in mountain regions are, and how crucial increased research is to understanding these phenomena. The conference participants agree that mountain regions need specific attention in climate research and should be addressed in more research programs. In particular, improved access to observational meteorological data is needed. Among the ways to increase access to data that were discussed at the conference is a new initiative the participants support: the High Elevation Instrumental Data Inventory (HEIDI).
MRI helped support Climate Change in High Mountain Regions. Videos of conference presentations will be available soon on the MRI website.