in brief

The Group on Earth Observations Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments (GEO-GNOME) is a GEO Work Programme Initiative that seeks to connect and facilitate access to diverse sources of mountain observation data and information regarding drivers, conditions, and trends in biophysical and socio-economic processes of change at different scales.

It is co-led by the MRI and the National Research Council of Italy. 

latest news SMD


At the end of May, contributors to the GEO-GNOME effort gathered in Bern, Switzerland, for a three day workshop hosted by the MRI to review and scope a new work plan for GEO-GNOME. The workshop was coordinated by the GEO-GNOME co-leads Carolina Adler from the MRI and Elisa Palazzi from the National Research Council of Italy, together with Marc Zebisch from EURAC Research.

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Mountains are globally distributed environments producing significant societal benefits. The ability of mountain regions to provide goods and services to both highland and lowland residents is seriously threatened by climatic and environmental changes, large-scale political and socio-economic transformations, unsustainable management of natural resources and serious gaps in the understanding of mountain systems. Decisions on policy and investment, from the level of local governments to international agencies, must be based on information and knowledge that reflect both the generalities and specificities of mountain regions. In addition, decision makers must confront the paucity of observations in high-altitude regions and the relatively poor level of understanding of mountain social-ecological systems.

The Group on Earth Observations Initiative – Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments (GEO-GNOME), will address the paucity of observations and information on mountains. GEO-GNOME will compile and provide data, both related to historical conditions and to future projections that support examination of the drivers, conditions and trends at a variety of different scales, from that of a single mountain range to that of the planet as a whole. GEO-GNOME will improve our understanding of mountain regions and therefore sharpen our ability to provide policy and investment relevant advice. GEO-GNOME will create a capacity to combine data and information to meet emerging, often as-yet unarticulated policy needs.

The overarching logic of the activities is to begin with existing datasets, specifically datasets that delineate mountain regions, and then thematic datasets that are either clipped to mountain regions or are non-global legacy datasets pertaining to specific areas or specific themes. These first tasks provide a platform for mountain-related observations. Focused campaigns related to known issues will generate new data and new insights needed to convert data into knowledge and insight into the function of mountain regions. The final tasks anticipate new policy frameworks beyond the historical GEO SBAs to ensure that GEO-GNOME data can be useful in these new policy frameworks (e.g. SDGs).

Specifically, GEO-GNOME tasks fall under the following headings:

1. Delineating accurately mountain regions using best available data;
2. Compiling data that quantify ecosystem services, socio-economic measures and drivers arising from or impinging upon mountains;
3. Improving understanding and foresight through focused campaigns;
4. Developing an indicator capacity that responds to future policy needs;
5. Reporting periodically on State of the World’s Mountains.