Update on the Joint Body on Mountain Snow Cover
MRI News
article written by MRI
29.06.23 | 07:06

The Joint Body on Mountain Snow Cover is a collaboration between the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS), the Mountain Research Initiative, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW). The Joint Body was launched in 2022 and will run until 2025.

Mountain snow cover has high relevance for water provision, hydropower production, ecosystems, tourism, and natural hazards across the world’s mountains. However, a standardised inventory of historical mountain snow observations is currently lacking. In this context, the Joint Body’s primary objectives are to develop such an inventory and make the data it contains (both in situ and remotely sensed) freely available. Thereafter, the inventory will be applied to characterise spatio-temporal dynamics in mountain snow cover across a range of scales, and to improve both process understanding and numerical models of snow accumulation and ablation processes in complex terrain.

The Joint Body’s activities are divided into four Work Packages. A lead individual has already been identified for three of the four Work Packages (a lead must still be identified for Work Package 4, which focuses on snow ablation processes). Over 100 experts from both the research and operational mountain snow communities have already signed up to the Joint Body, and activities under the first two Work Packages are well underway.

The Joint Body has already been presented as a concept at several conferences and fora, including the International Mountain Conference 2022, the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP27), and the EGU General Assembly 2023. Some of the first results will be presented during a dedicated side event at the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) General Assembly 2023.

There is still the possibility for members of the MRI and/or GEO Mountains network to become involved in, and contribute to, the Joint Body. For further information and/or to enquire about coming involved in the Joint Body on Mountain Snow Cover, please contact one of the co-chairs.

 Cover image by samsommer