Celebrating the mountains

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Today, let’s stop at the top. It’s the day to recognize the role of the mountains, it’s the occasion to understand why they are so crucial for the Earth system and why they are so vulnerable to climate change and human pressures. Today is the 2019 International Mountain Day.

As global population and well-being grow, anthropogenic pressures on mountain ecosystems increase, worsening the pressure already exerted by climate change. In mountain areas, glaciers are melting, snow cover extent is decreasing, ecosystems are changing, vulnerability to disasters is increasing. The economic consequences of these changes are not only a matter for the 10% of the global population living in the mountain, as mountains provide freshwater and many other services for the everyday life of more than half of humanity.

The International Mountain Day is celebrated every year on December 11. CMCC Foundation celebrates the mountains, today and every day, by conducting high-level research on the inter-linkages that this delicate ecosystem has with climate change and by giving evidence to the state-of-the-art of the scientific knowledge on the topic.

For the 2019 International Mountain Day, the theme of choice is “Mountain’s matter for youth”. The article “Mountains matter for the world’s youth at COP25” on our Foresight Magazine presents how the topic of mountains is taking on an important role these days in Madrid.

The ice-covered areas of our planet – together with the ocean – are central to the latest IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, which is commented by CMCC experts in the press release “Ocean and cryosphere: from global warming to viable solutions”. Details and in-depth analyses of the report are also available in Italian language on the IPCC Focal Point for Italy website, including the infographic that can be downloaded at this link. On the same topic, the Foresight Magazine features the article “What we do now will define the oceans and cryosphere of the future”, where benefits of limiting global warming are emphasized by highlighting how our actions today can shape the world of tomorrow in lower emission scenarios.

The outdoor industry is a booming business as more and more people take to the outdoors for recreational activities. However, enjoying being in nature doesn’t always translate into environmental awareness and the outdoor industry itself is contributing little towards maintaining the natural environments that its customers rely on. Let’s see how this sector has the potential to help educate people on the current climate crisis in the article “The outdoor industry’s troubled relationship with nature”.

Indeed, a shift is needed. If we continue with business as usual, Alpine glaciers could lose up to 90% of their ice by 2100, and it is hard to ignore a disappearing glacier and the tangible changes this brings. The Foresight article “The green wave takes Swiss elections by storm” analyses the shift in public opinion on environmental issues occurring in Switzerland, bolstered by increased coverage of climate science and culminating with the latest elections that have seen an unprecedented rise in the Green share of the Swiss vote.

Keeping the focus on the Alps, a research team of the CMCC Foundation, together with the Istituto Italiano Ricerca e Sviluppo, recently analyzed how current and future climate change effects will influence in the next decades 45 municipalities of the ZOP (Zona Omogenea del Pinerolese) territory, south-west of Turin. The outcome of this research-action activity, conducted in the framework of the European Interreg ALCOTRA-ARTACLIM project, provided an innovative methodology to assess the vulnerability to climate change and introduced adaptation measures and actions in the planning processes in order to increase the resilience of these territories. Read more in the press release “Alps: new insights and strategies for adaptation”.

Furthermore, a list of scientific publications authored by CMCC researchers is available below, ranging from multi-risk assessments in the mountain regions for climate change adaptation to quantification of the spread of wine-growing areas to the mountain due to a warmer climate; from observed shift towards earlier spring discharge in the main Alpine rivers to performance evaluations of high-resolution regional climate simulations in the Alpine space, including the analysis of extreme events.

Multi-risk assessment in mountain regions: A review of modeling approaches for climate change adaptation
Terzi S., Torresan S., Schneiderbauer S., Critto A., Zebisch M., Marcomini A.
2018, Journal of Environmental Management, 232, 1, 759-771, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.11.100, web page

Ecological traits of Mediterranean tree species as a basis for modeling forest dynamics in the Taurus mountains, Turkey
Kint V., Aertsen W., Fyllas N. M., Trabucco A., Janssen E., Özkan K., Muys B.
2014, Ecological Modeling, 286, 53-65, web page

Global assessment of heat wave magnitudes from 1901 to 2010 and possible implications for the river discharge of the Alps
Zampieri M., Russo S., Di Sabatino S., Michetti M., Scoccimarro E., Gualdi S.
2016, Science of the Total Environment, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.07.008, web page

Simulations of quantitative shift in bio-climatic indices in the viticultural areas of Trentino (Italian Alps) by an open source R package
Eccel E., Zollo A. L., Mercogliano P., Zorer R.
2016, Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, Volume 127, Pages 92–100, DOI: 10.1016/j.compag.2016.05.019, web page

Comparing COSMO-CLM simulations and MODIS data of snow cover extent and distribution over Italian Alps
Da Ronco P., De Michele C., Montesarchio M., Mercogliano P.
2016, Climate Dynamics, pp. 1-23, DOI: 10.1007/s00382-016-3054-2, web page

Observed shift towards earlier spring discharge in the main Alpine rivers
Zampieri M., Scoccimarro E., Gualdi S., Navarra A.
2015, Science of the Total Environment, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.06.036, web page

Performance evaluation of high-resolution regional climate simulations in the Alpine space and analysis of extreme events
Montesarchio M., Zollo A. L., Bucchignani E., Mercogliano P., Castellari S.
2014, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 119, DOI: 10.1002/2013JD021105, web page 

Atlantic influence on spring snowfall over Alps in the last 150 years
Zampieri M., Scoccimarro E., Gualdi S.

2013, Environmental Research Letters, Volume 8, number 3, DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/034026, web page


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