The MRI Science Leadership Council Mountain Observatories Working Group builds on the Global Network of Mountain Observatories (GNOMO), which was established in 2015 to create a network that would generate comparable data on mountain social-ecological systems – from climate and hydrology to ecology and human use and governance.

The Mountain Observatories Working Group aims to facilitate the development of a network of mountain super-sites where observations will be conducted at multi-thematic scale. These super-sites will also work as 'hubs' for regional monitoring.


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Key Project Details

Duration: December 2017 – September 2019

Members: MRI SLC members Maria Shahgedanova (lead), Aster Gebrekirstos, Ricardo Grau, Christian Huggel, Robert Marchant, Veerle Vanacker, Mathias Vuille, Rolf Weingartner.

Outcomes: A position paper is planned for publication in late 2019 (or early 2020). First regional workshop is planned for the summer of 2020 – TBD.

Project Background

The MRI's work on the development of a network of Mountain Observatories (MO) commenced in 2014 at an MRI-led meeting in Reno, USA, where key themes of the initiative were identified and development of the MO community was initiated. This work continued in 2015 when a workshop ‘Global Network for Observations and Information on Mountain Environments (GEO-GNOME)’ was held in Crested Butte, USA, bringing together a multidisciplinary international community of experts (including MRI SLC members) and practitioners running or aspiring to run MO and representatives of organisations whose experience and expertise were potentially beneficial for the development of MO. The main outcomes from this meeting were: (i) definition of MO and of a desirable range of data to be collected; (ii) a global database of MO providing details of monitoring programmes and data availability; (iii) preliminary gap thematic and geographical gap analyses; and (iv) an agreement on the design and partial implementation of a platform for MO data exchange.

A preliminary version of the global database is now available below and will be expanded further. A brief review of gaps in [predominantly meteorological and hydrological] observations in the mountains and technologies helping to fill these gaps was published by Strachan et al. (2016) summarising discussions at the GEO-GNOME meetings. More recently, MRI SLC members focused on more broad, multi-thematic monitoring, examining approaches and practices employed by the established observatories and networks in order to facilitate knowledge transfer to emerging observatories, with emphasis on the developing world.

The Mountain Observatories Project works in close collaboration with the MRI Elevation Dependent Warming Working Group.


Project Aims

The project aims to facilitate the development of a network of mountain super-sites where observations will be conducted at multi-thematic scale. These super-sites will also work as 'hubs' for regional monitoring.

To support this development, at Stage 1 of the project, the team will develop a position paper on Mountain Observatories which seeks to: (i) provide examples of the current state of  environmental monitoring in the mountains, available networks, and products in relation to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); (ii) assess challenges with the implementation of such holistic approach; (iii) discuss successful examples of the existing mountain observing systems (individual observatories or networks) operating at various scales; and (iv) propose the principles and ways in which a successful and sustainable network of mountain observatories / supersites can be developed.

At Stage 2, the team will aim to facilitate the implementation of multi-thematic monitoring by conducting regional workshops at the emerging multi-thematic sites, bringing together experts from the well-established observatories and academics and practitioners running the identified emerging sites.  


Map of Observatories

Mountain Observatory

Mountain Observatories

Mountain GNOMO


If your observatory site is not featured on the map, let us know!


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