A new analysis of sandstones from Antarctica indicates there may be important links between the generation of mountain belts and major transitions in Earth's atmosphere and oceans.

A team of researchers analyzed the chemistry of tiny zircon grains commonly found in the Earth's continental rock record to determine their ages and chemical compositions. The team included scientists from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Michigan Technological University, and ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

A new study which provides a global estimate of rock cover on the Earth’s glaciers has revealed that the expanse of rock debris on glaciers, a factor that has been ignored in models of glacier melt and sea level rise, could be significant.

The Northumbria University study, which has been published in Nature Geoscience this week, is the first to manually verify the rock debris cover on every one of the Earth’s glaciers.

The status of individual glaciers is still poorly documented in Georgian Caucasus. A new paper sheds light on individual glacier changes in this region, revealing changes of the Chalaati and Zopkhito glaciers between 1960-2014.

MRI, alongside the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), the Past Global Changes Early Career Network (PAGES ECN), the Permafrost Young Research Network (PYRN) and the Young Earth System Scientists (YESS) community, are calling for early career researchers to participate in a group review of the Second Order Draft (SOD) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

The WGII contribution to the IPCC AR6 is due to be finalized in 2021. The SOD of the IPCC AR6 WGII report will be open for expert review from 4 December 2020 to 29 January 2021.

As part of our mission to promote global mountain research, we are excited to bring visibility to the six projects that form the Belmont Forum’s ‘Mountains as Sentinels of Change’ program by highlighting a different project each month. This program was originally established with contributions and support from the MRI and is currently led by former MRI SLC members.

This month’s featured project is 'P3: People, Pollution, and Pathogens: Mountain Ecosystems as Sentinels of Change'. Their blog post ‘More Firsts – Theory and Practice in Sampling Pollutant Samples in Mountains’ offers a glimpse into their activities – take a look below!

In the past weeks GEO-GNOME has been actively connecting with the Group on Earth Observations' flagship activity Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) by participating and presenting at the recent GEO BON Open Science Conference and All Hands Meeting. In the closing session of the conference, the five grantees under the GEO BON - Microsoft Call “EBVs on the cloud” were announced, with GEO-GNOME among them. The grant provides funding and computing capacity to further develop ecosystem level Essential Biodiversity Variables for mountains. 

Global water consumption has increased almost fourfold in the past 100 years, and many regions can only meet their water demand thanks to essential contributions from mountain regions. In 30 years, almost a quarter of the world’s lowland population will strongly depend on runoff from the mountains. Only sustainable development can ensure the important function of mountain areas as Earth’s “water towers”.

The incredible range of unique plant and animal biodiversity found in the Drakensberg, Maloti, and adjacent lowlands area offers a rich arena for exploration, not only for nature-lovers but for researchers as well. Opportunities in this region abound, particularly for the scientific community, to develop transdisciplinary research, a key element towards the implementation of sustainable policies and climate change mitigation measures.

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