MRI at the AGU Fall Meeting
MRI News
article written by MRI
17.12.19 | 02:12

This year, the famous AGU Fall Meeting returned to San Francisco for the AGU’s Centennial Celebrations, gathering nearly 30,000 geoscientists – among them a great number of mountain-oriented researchers. During the AGU week, the MRI organized scientific sessions and a side-event workshop that offered mountain researchers a chance to connect and engage in discussion on mountain climate research.

Mountain Weather and Climate in a Warmer World

The scientific sessions on ‘Mountain Weather and Climate in a Warmer World’ presented research seeking to better understand weather and climate processes and patterns of climate change in mountains, as well as their implications for high-elevations and regions downstream, using in situ observations, remote sensing, and modelling approaches.

The oral session on Thursday with eight talks presented the diversity of questions, methods, and types of data that sit under the umbrella of mountain climate research, with topics spanning from temperature measurements and modelling to streamflow variability and climate-related changes in alpine ecosystems. In their invited talks, Jessica Lundquist (University of Washington) highlighted the importance of summer precipitation as the snow disappears and Justin Minder (University at Albany) discussed the importance of better understanding the snow albedo feedback for projections of changes in mountain climate. The poster session on Friday morning continued with this topic.

Jamila Smith AGU
Ethan Clark AGU

Pictured: Jamila Smith (SUNY at Fredonia) and Ethan Clark (University of British Columbia) presenting their posters.

From Elevation-Dependent Warming to Elevation-Dependent Climate Change

On International Mountain Day, 11 December, the MRI organized a side-event in San Francisco to reconvene the EDW Working Group collective and invite new interested participants to continue and expand the work of the Working Group. Since the workshop in 2015, the results of which were published in Nature Climate Change, there has been much more research on how present and future temperature trends may be elevation-dependent. Increasingly, it is recognized that temperature changes do not act in isolation, but are influenced by other variables and mechanisms. However, there has been less detailed consideration of other climate variables such as snow cover, precipitation, humidity, and cloud patterns. Led by Nick Pepin, the leader of the working group, the workshop broadened the perspective from Elevation-Dependent Warming to Elevation-Dependent Climate Change, and considered both the theoretical perspective behind expected changes in elevation profiles of variables other than temperature (e.g., precipitation, snow, cloud, wind), and also what observations need to be developed to capture these expected changes.

If you are interested in the activities of the EDW working group, please visit the working group homepage, follow the MRI Global Newsletter for updates, or contact MRI at

Nick Pepin AGU
Group Photo AGU

Pictured: Nick Pepin presenting on processes of elevation dependent climate change, and a group photo of workshop participants.

We would like to thank Nick Pepin, Connie Millar, and Mathias Vuille for their help in organizing the mountain events at the AGU, and all who submitted to our sessions, as well as all the participants of the side-event workshop. It was exciting to meet you all and we hope to stay in touch with you!