A Workshop on Advances in Our Understanding of Elevation Dependent Climate Change
New Publication
article written by MRI
09.05.23 | 07:05

Experts from around the world gathered at the University of Innsbruck in Austria for a workshop on how climate change is affecting mountain environments, in particular at different elevations.

The workshop, supported by the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), aimed to discuss recent evidence and open questions on how climate change affects elevational gradients of change in key meteorological and climate variables, as well as understanding the underlying physical processes and their broader consequences at high altitudes and downstream. The 39 participants also identified key gaps in our mountain observations and climate models and outlined future research priorities in mountain science. The workshop was arranged on the sidelines of the second International Mountain Conference (IMC2022) and was held both in-person and online.

“As scientists, and citizens of the world, it is important to come together to discuss our understanding of mountain climate change: by bringing together scientists and interested stakeholders, the workshop allowed us to share views and opinions on challenging scientific questions concerning mountain climate change to advance our understanding of this complex phenomenon.”

lead author Anna Napoli
Pictured above: EDCC Working Group lead Nick Pepin and participants getting to work.


  • Workshop “From Elevation Dependent Warming to Elevation Dependent Climate Change (EDCC)”
  • What: Scientists and interested stakeholders came together to discuss recent progress in our understanding of mountain climate change and specifically its dependence on elevation. In particular, they considered challenging questions concerning the processes affecting climate change and their stratification with height and their impacts in mountain areas and downstream ecosystems.
  • When: 15-17 September 2022
  • Where: Innsbruck, Austria
  • Keywords: elevation-dependent warming, elevation-dependent climate change, mountains, cryosphere, high-altitude ecosystems, mountain hot-spots.
Pictured above: Participant discussion during a breakout group work session.

Paper Highlights 

  • The scientific community needs to shift from the concept of Elevation Dependent Warming to Elevation Dependent Climate Change, which includes variables beyond temperature such as precipitation (solid and liquid), humidity, and soil moisture.
  • Targeted field campaigns and observational resources are needed to better understand local to mesoscale physical mechanisms and improve the modeling of mountain-related processes at different altitudes.
  • A  detailed review is underway to consolidate existing knowledge about EDCC/EDW, and a new workshop is being organised to focus on the development of the Unified High Elevation Observational Platform (UHOP) which aims to standardise mountain observations across elevation gradients..
  • Representative “average” vertical profiles for essential mountain climate variables are needed to classify broad patterns of EDCC across different classes of mountain ranges.
  • It is important to investigate how elevation-dependent changes may affect feedback, such as through vegetation and land cover changes.


Napoli, A., Pepin, N., Palazzi, E., & Zardi, D. (2023). A workshop on advances in our understanding of Elevation Dependent Climate Change. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-23-0043.1

Read the paper

Cover image by Dmitriy K.