Making Connections at the EGU General Assembly 2019
MRI News
article written by MRI
24.05.19 | 08:05

Last month, the MRI was present at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2019, held in Vienna between 8-12 April. During the week, we attended a number of events that provided opportunities to further connect and bring the mountain research community together at one of the largest, and key, meets for the geosciences research community in Europe.

Transcending disciplinary boundaries for knowledge co-production in mountains

Session EOS6.3/NH9.26: Inter- and transdisciplinary research, education, and practice in mountain regions: field experiences, challenges, and opportunities | Mon, 08 Apr, 14:00–15:45.

This session, led by the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), invited contributions to share diverse experiences with inter- and transdisciplinary (ID-TD) research, education, and practice as it is specifically applied in mountain contexts. A number of engaging presentations were given by researchers from diverse backgrounds, topics, and covering experiences had working in mountain regions in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America.

Tourism was a key topic as a livelihood option for many mountain regions, with Jan Nyssen (Ghent University, Belgium) and his team showcasing the co-production of a geoguide for tourists visiting the Ethiopian highlands, and a tandem talk by Valentina Hanna and Francisco Gutierrrez (GeoScience, Chile) highlighting the potential for geo parks as both a tourist attraction and to support scientific education and public awareness in the Central Andes.

Understanding risks associated with natural hazards in the mountains is also a prominent research avenue for scientists seeking greater engagement with local communities through transdisciplinarity. We learned about addressing landslide risks in western Nepal with Puja Shakya (Practical Action Consulting, Nepal), mapping of debris-flow and landslide hazards in the tropical Andes with Aleksandra Tomczyk and Marek Ewertowski (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland), flood risk management through improved policy coordination in Austria with Lukas Loeschner and colleagues (BOKU, Austria), and the role of communities and public stakeholders in sharing responsibility for flood risk reduction in Austria with Magdalena Rauter and colleagues (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria). All in all, a very informative session that highlighted the increasing interest in and role of ID-TD research in revealing and constructing key insights to support development in mountain social-ecological systems.

Jan Nyssen EGU
Puja Shakya EGU

Pictured: Jan Nyssen

Pictured: Puja Shakya

Lukas Loeschner EGU
Magdalena Rauter EGU

Pictured: Lukas Loeschner

 Pictured: Magdalena Rauter

Connecting mountain meteorology and climatology – prospects for cross-disciplinary dialogues.

Session AS4.47/CR1.13/HS11.22/CL4.30Mountain climatology and meteorology  | Orals: Tue, 09 Apr, 16:15–18:00; and Posters: Tue, 09 Apr, 10:45–12:30

Mountains cover approximately one quarter of the total land surface on the planet, and a significant fraction of the world’s population lives in their vicinity. Orography critically affects weather and climate processes at all scales and, in connection with factors such as land-cover heterogeneity, is responsible for high spatial variability in mountain weather and climate. Due to this high complexity, monitoring and modeling the atmosphere and the other components of the climate system in mountain regions is challenging at both short (meteorological) and long (climatological) time-scales.

This session brought together these two distinct research communities to learn about recent scientific developments and to better understand weather and climate processes in mountain and high-elevation areas around the globe. The enriching discussions, and the promising prospects of continuing this cross-disciplinary practice, inspired the idea of fostering linkages between these communities as part of the American Geosciences Union meet later in the year in Washington DC, with a session proposal already submitted for consideration.

Oral and poster presenters attending this session were also invited to participate in the MRI-led synthesis workshop that took place in Vienna alongside the EGU. Full details of all abstracts for oral talks and poster presentations are available on the EGU 2019 website.

MRI Synthesis workshop on mountain meteorology and climatology

Finally, after a busy week at the EGU, there were still energies left to engage in the MRI-led synthesis workshop on mountain meteorology and climatology, held on Friday 12 April at the University of Vienna, which provided a unique opportunity to not only continue conversations started at the EGU but also explore prospects for the development of a scientific synthesis paper that would serve as input to the IPCC Working Group I contribution on the ‘Physical Science Basis’ in the sixth assessment cycle, AR6.

The synthesis workshop was also a timely opportunity to connect with the members of the MRI Elevation Dependent Warning (EDW) Working Group, and invite new members to contribute to exploring this topic in the context of much attention to climate related aspects in the mountains in the current IPCC AR6 assessment. At the meeting, participants identified key research gaps on EDW, as well as review progress made in other relevant aspects of meteorology and climatology over complex terrain. A key outcome of the workshop was to start drafting a co-authored summary paper for peer review, and to continue these conversations at future meetings, such as the International Mountains Conference in Innsbruck in September 2019.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank all who actively and enthusiastically participated in the events held in Vienna!

Eliza Palazzi EGU
Sven Kotlarski EGU

Pictured: Eliza Palazzi (CNR, Italy), workshop co-convener

Pictured: Sven Kotlarski (MeteoSwiss), workshop co-convener

Group Discussions EGU 1
Group Discussions EGU 2

 Pictured above left and right: Group discussions


Social Evening Workshop Participants EGU

Pictured: A social evening with workshop participants in downtown Vienna.