Global News

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Mountains Specialist Group has developed a draft paper on Identification of Global Priorities for New Mountain Protected and Conserved Areas. It reenforces an understanding and appreciation of the critical natural and cultural value of mountains and the threats to their ecological functions, and presents the case for the importance of protecting and conserving representative mountain ecosystems.

Research published in the journal Earth’s Future assesses the governance processes related to the planning of a new reservoir in the European Alps – and stresses that reservoir governance in mountain regions would profit from anticipating multi-purpose use in a way that addresses both climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Mountains – often referred to as the world’s ‘water towers’ – play an essential role in storing water and providing it to meet the downstream water demands of a significant proportion of the global population. This role is of particular importance during lowlands' low flow season, where mountains provide runoff through snow- and glacier melt. 1.9 billion people worldwide depend upon these runoff contributions for purposes including drinking water, irrigation, energy production, and industrial and municipal activities. Furthermore, this runoff is essential for ecosystems and biodiversity. The retreat of glaciers, rising snow lines, and changes in precipitation as a result of climate change, both now and in future, therefore have serious implications.

The Forum Landscape, Alps, Parks (FoLAP) invites scientific contributions based on mountain research undertaken in Swiss parks of national importance and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as protected areas in other countries. 

Abstract submission deadline: 30 April 2021. 

The U.S. Geological Survey Benchmark Glacier Project is seeking information about researchers who are close to finishing or who have recently finished their PhD and have demonstrated research skill in the arena of mountain glacier mass balance, glacier and climate relationships, ice dynamics and glacier geophysics, and/or glacier interactions with alpine ecosystems. We want to ensure that our awareness of emergent researchers is updated, so that our response to potential future postdoc opportunities can be swift.

The Hydro-CH2018 project analysed the effects of climate change on Swiss water bodies. It found that climate change will greatly affect water availability over the course of the year, and this vital resource will become so scarce or so warm that humans will have to curb their activities and nature will suffer. A new report summarizes the project's findings, and explores how these impacts can be mitigated.

How will climate change affect the water regime in Switzerland – the 'reservoir' of Europe? This was the key question addressed by the Hydro-CH2018 research project, an extensive study carried out under the lead of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) in conjunction with the Swiss National Centre for Climate Services (NCCS). The impact is much greater than previously thought: without climate protection measures, by the end of the century there will be around 30 per cent more water in the rivers in winter, and 40 per cent less in summer.

A collaborative effort by the research community has enabled the very first Alpine-wide assessment of station snow depth – and found decreases in snow depth in spring across all altitudes and regions over the last 50 years.

New research published in the journal The Cryosphere evaluates snow data for the period 1971-2019 from more than 2000 measuring stations in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland, making it the first Alpine-wide assessment of station snow depth. The study, coordinated by Eurac Research, is the result of an international collaborative research effort contributed to by over 30 partners.

Although past temperature variations in the tropics are of great importance to understanding the global climate system, little is known about their extent and chronological course. Researchers led by the University of Bern have now been able to demonstrate strong local cooling in the tropics during the last glacial period on the basis of glacier fluctuations and large stone stripes in the Ethiopian Highlands.

A research team led by Alexander Groos, Heinz Veit (both Institute of Geography), and Naki Akçar (Institute of Geological Sciences) at the University of Bern, in collaboration with colleagues from ETH Zurich, the University of Marburg, and the University of Ankara, used the Ethiopian Highlands as a test site to investigate the extent and impact of regional cooling on tropical mountains during the last glacial period. The results have been published in the scientific journals Science Advances and Earth Surface Dynamics.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) publishes the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) every three years. Nations and public and private research partners contribute to this flagship report on worldwide efforts to reduce disaster risk.

The GAR assesses global progress toward implementing the targets and priorities of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) in relation to the advances of other global agendas such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Change Agreement. It shares innovative research and practice in disaster risk management, with the objective to support risk reduction and increase resilience from local to global scales.

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