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The Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research (SSAF) invites young researchers to apply for the ProMontesPrize (PMP) which recognises outstanding achievements towards the goal of safeguarding the future of the Alpine landscape. Deadline to apply is 31 March, 2020.

The University of Basel, the Swiss Academies of the Arts and Sciences, and the Network for Transdisciplinary Research have come together to develop a free massive open online course (MOOC) called 'Partnering for Change: Link Research to Societal Changes' offered on the online platform Future Learn.

This course will examine the principles, processes, and uses of transdisciplinarity in research to address societal changes. This course begins 30 March 2020. 

Research provides new insight on mountain glacier–derived water resource systems, impacting up to 1.9 billion people globally.

Scientists from around the world have assessed the planet’s 78 mountain glacier-based water systems and, for the first time, ranked them in order of their importance to adjacent lowland communities, as well as their vulnerability to future environmental and socioeconomic changes. These systems, known as mountain water towers, store and transport water via glaciers, snow packs, lakes, and streams, thereby supplying invaluable water resources to 1.9 billion people globally—roughly a quarter of the world’s population.

New research published in the journal PLOS ONE finds that rising temperatures are causing perennial snowbanks in Mongolia's Sayan Mountains to melt – putting the people and animals they support at risk. 

Deep in the Sayan Mountains of northern Mongolia, patches of ice rest year-round in the crooks between hills.

Locals in this high tundra call the perennial snowbanks munkh mus, or eternal ice. They’re central to lives of the region’s traditional reindeer herders, who depend on the snowy patches for clean drinking water and to cool down their hoofed charges in summer months.

Now, a new study led by archaeologist William Taylor suggests that this eternal ice, and the people and animals it supports, may be at risk because of soaring global temperatures.

Glaciologists at ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research WSL assessed the global water storage and hydropower potential that could be freed up in future as glaciers melt in response to climate change.

Global warming will cause substantial glacier retreat for the majority of the world’s glaciers over the next few decades. This will not only spell the end for some magnificent natural monuments, but also importantly affect the water cycle. In high-​mountain regions, these ice masses act as reservoirs feeding water to large river systems, and balancing seasonal discharges.

The Tibetan Plateau – known as the 'Asian water tower' because of its huge water storage capacity in glaciers – has a profound impact on local and downstream ecosystems. However, it is a challenge to establish and maintain in situ observations there due to the complex terrain. Thanks to satellite technology, scientists may have found a substitute.

In sharp contrast with the importance of the 'Asian water tower', sufficient in situ observations in the Tibetan Plateau have been lacking due to the complex terrain. Satellite and reanalysis datasets may offer an alternative, as outlined in new research from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Palaeontologists look to the fossil record to come up with a new strategy to save the endangered mountain pygmy-possum from becoming a climate change casualty.

Scientists have come up with a radical plan to save the critically endangered mountain pygmy-possum: take some from their alpine habitat and introduce them to a warmer, lowland rainforest environment.

In a new study published in Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions B, researchers from University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney use fossil evidence going back 25 million years to argue that the mountain pygmy-possum (Burramys parvus) is a species living on the fringes of what its biological ancestors would have enjoyed as a more temperate, less extreme environment.

The fabled use of canaries in coal mines as an early warning of carbon monoxide stemmed from the birds’ extreme sensitivity to toxic conditions compared to humans. In that vein, some avian species can indicate environmental distress brought on by overdevelopment, habitat loss, and rising global temperatures before an ecosystem has collapsed. Not all bird species, however, respond to environmental disturbances equally.

Researchers from Princeton University set out to help determine the characteristics that make certain species more sensitive to environmental pressures. They recently reported in the journal Ecography that a bird species’ ability to adapt to seasonal temperature changes may be one factor in whether it can better withstand environmental disruption. The study focused on how temperature changes and the conversion of forests to agricultural land affected 135 bird species in the Himalayas. Species living in the seasonal western Himalayas adapted to deforestation more readily than birds native to the tropical eastern Himalayas.

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