Advancing the Concept of Essential Mountain Climate Variables (EMCVs)

April 28, 2023
Vienna, Austria

Mountain climates and related Earth System components are changing rapidly, with major consequences for ecosystems and people. All efforts to mitigate and adapt to the adverse consequences of these changes – and conversely to exploit the opportunities that they will bring – must be underpinned by timely, accurate, and informative Earth Observations that reflect the mountain context (e.g. steep and complex terrain).

In 2021, a set of climate and environmental variables (the so-called Essential Mountain Climate Variables; EMCVs) were first proposed that, if the corresponding datasets could be obtained in a consistent manner across the world’s mountains, should lead to substantial advancements in the monitoring, understanding, and prediction of climate change and its impacts in and near mountains (Thornton et al., 2021). However, much further coordination and consultation work remains to be undertaken if such a framework is to be deemed suitable and useful, and eventually taken up, by the global community of mountain researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.

This workshop, coordinated by the MRI and iLEAPS during EGU23 as a contribution to GEO Mountains, therefore represents a second interdisciplinary workshop on the subject. The event aims to (i) ensure that disciplinary and geographical representation in the consultation processes to date is enhanced, (ii) identify and further specify an initial list of EMCV, iii) identify specific observation requirements for these variables, and (iii) evaluate the extent to which existing datasets (including those provided by the ESA and other space agencies) meet these articulated needs. Given the limited time available, it is intended that the workshop will act as a “launch” of a subsequent online consultation / collaboration process that will seek to make further progress.