Mountain Observatories


The Mountain Observatories Working Group brings together an international and interdisciplinary group of experts to build on the Global Network of Mountain Observatories (GNOMO)established in 2015 to create a network that would generate comparable data on mountain social-ecological systems, from climate and hydrology to ecology, human use, and governance. This Working Group aims to facilitate the development of a network of mountain super-sites where observations will be conducted at multi-thematic scale. These super-sites will also work as ‘hubs’ for regional monitoring.

Key Working Group Details

This Working Group was created in 2019 and is in its second phase (2020-2021). 

Working Group Lead


  • Veerle Vanacker, University Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • Mathias Vuille, University at Albany – State University of New York, USA
  • Rolf Weingartner, University of Bern, Switzerland

Outputs and Achievements to Date

  • Publication | Mountain Observatories: Status and Prospects for Enhancing and Connecting a Global Community

    Shahgedanova, M., Adler, C., Gebrekirstos, A., Grau, H. R., Huggel, C., Marchant, R., Pepin, N., Vanacker, V., Viviroli, D., & Vuille, M. (2021). Mountain Observatories: Status and Prospects for Enhancing and Connecting a Global Community. Mountain Research and Development41(2).

Planned Activities and Outputs for 2023

In 2021, MRI’s Mountain Observatories Working Group published a paper introducing the concept of “Mountain Observatories”, which “identified geographical and thematic gaps, as well as recent advances in the monitoring of relevant biophysical and socioeconomic variables in the mountains” and “proposed principles and ways of connecting existing initiatives, supporting emerging areas, and developing new mountain observatory networks regionally and, eventually, globally.” This concept sets the scene and will become a reality as part of GEO Mountain’s Regional Workshop Series, outlining the necessary monitoring efforts and how they can be operationalized in these regions.

Activities and Outputs for 2021

MO News

Mountain Observatories: Status and Prospects to Enhance and Connect a Global Community (30 June 2021)

New research undertaken by the MRI Mountain Observatories Working Group identifies both gaps and recent advances in the monitoring of key biophysical and socioeconomic variables in the mountains, and proposes ways to improve and connect existing initiatives – with the ultimate aim of developing a global mountain observatories network. Lead author Maria Shahgedanova explains why making these connections for our changing mountains is so crucial. Read more here.

Updates From the MRI Working Groups (24 February 2021)

Despite the challenges of 2020, and 2021 so far, the five MRI Working Groups have exciting updates to report! Read more here. 

Mountain Observatories Working Group Represented MRI at the International Mountain Conference 2019 (30 September 2019)

Members of the working group Represented MRI at the International Mountain Conference 2019, Innsbruck, Austria, delivering presentations, posters and participating in a range of sessions. Read more here.

GEO-GNOME Workshop on Essential Climate Variables for Mountains (30 September 2019)

The working group lead Maria Shahgedanova participated and presented plans of the Mountain Observatories Working Group at the GEO-GNOME ‘Essential Climate Variables for Observations in Mountains’. Read more here.

How to Join

As community-led activities, these Working Groups are open to anyone from the MRI network  to participate and contribute to the Working Group’s work plan. Early career researchers (typically up to 5 years since attaining a postgraduate degree), women, and researchers and practitioners from developing countries and less represented mountain regions are particularly encouraged to join and participate. Please contact the Working Group lead to seek information on how to join: