Toward a definition of Essential Mountain Climate Variables
article written by MRI
29.09.21 | 01:09

The fourth event in the MRI Anniversary Lecture Series took place today, celebrating 20 years since the MRI Coordination Office was founded in 2001. This series aims to showcase MRI synthesis workshop research and build capacity in the mountain research community.

Invited speaker James Thornton joined the Mountain Research Initiative in 2020 upon completion of his PhD in hydrogeology at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His doctoral research focused on the interdisciplinary, physics-based numerical modelling of hydrological processes in complex Alpine terrain, and involved a wide range of datasets and computational tools. Prior to that, James worked in the reinsurance sector, where he was responsible for leading the development of natural catastrophe models in order to quantify the risks associated with extreme events such as floods and tropical cyclones. He is currently responsible for the coordination and implementation of GEO Mountains, a GEO Initiative seeking to increase the availability and accessibility of a wide range of data pertaining to mountainous regions to benefit human societies and ecosystems globally.

In this presentation, James describes some of the initial steps that have recently been undertaken towards establishing a set of interdisciplinary climate-related variables (so-called Essential Mountain Climate Variables, EMCVs) that should be prioritised for systematic observation across mountain regions globally in order to provide more uniform reporting information and build more reliable predictive models. He also provides an outlook on possibilities to either strengthen the measurement of EMCVs, or else exploit existing EMCV data more efficiently. One approach, combining in situ and remotely sensed observations, is exemplified with respect to a distributed, energy-balanced based snow model. Finally, future steps towards the concept’s formalisation – to which the community is warmly invited to contribute – is proposed. 

View the lecture in full below:


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Download the presentation slides here. To see the animations, please view the recording. 

Take the brief EMCVs suvey here

More information about the next MRI Anniversary Lecture can be found here

Image by Pete.