Elevation Dependent Warming

CE news2


New publication on "Evidence of high-elevation amplification versus Arctic amplification" in Scientific Reports!

Wang Q., Fan X., Wang M. (2016). Evidence of high-elevation amplification versus Arctic amplification. Sci. Rep. 6, 19219; doi: 10.1038/srep19219 (2016).


CE events2


Some events organized in the light of this concerted effort:

Past events:

  • 15 December 2015, San Francisco, USA
    Session at AGU "High Elevation Climate Change: Detection, Projection and Impacts"

  • October 2015, Perth, UK
    High-Elevation Climate - Research Presentation Session and Roundtable

  • 14 April 2015, Vienna, Austria
    Splinter Meeting at EGU "Elevation-dependent warming: What's Next?" 

  • 15-19 December 2014, San Francisco, USA
    Sessions and Side-events at the AGU Fall meeting

  • 17 September 2014, Midway Utah, USA
    Panel discussion at Mountain Climate Research Conference MtClim2014

  • 22-25 April 2014, Payerbach, Austria
    Expert meeting on EDW

  • 3 December 2012 and again 10 December 2013, San Francisco, USA
    Exploratory meetings at the AGU Fall meeting 

CE background


Although journalists frequently treat more rapid warming at higher elevations as settled science, it is most definitely not. This Concerted Effort will draft a multi-year international campaign to assess if, where, to what extent and why mountains and other high elevation regions of the world are warming more rapidly as compared to other portions of the planet.

Rangwala and Miller (2012) summarized well the state of the science:

During the last century, global surface air temperature has increased by 0.75°C according to the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC; Trenberth et al. 2007). Between 1975 and 2010, land temperatures have been increasing at a rate of 0.30°C/decade, which is more than double the rate (0.12°C/decade) of ocean warming. It has been proposed that mountainous regions may be more sensitive to global scale climate change than other land surface at the same latitude (e.g., Messerli and Ives 1997; Beniston et al. 1997). Several studies have suggested that mountain regions have warmed at a greater rate than their low elevation counterparts often with greater increases in daily minimum temperatures than daily maximum temperatures (e.g. Diaz and Bradley 1997; Beniston et al. 1997; Rangwala et al. 2009; Liu et al. 2009; Qin et al. 2009; Pederson et al. 2010). Most climate models find enhanced warming in mountains and do so more consistently than found in observations (Pepin and Lundquist 2008)... (A) conclusive understanding of these responses will continue to elude us in the absence of a more comprehensive network of climate monitoring in mountains.

This campaign will involve a review of existing science but will certainly also require the collection of new data, as the current paucity of high-elevation station data precludes definitive answers.


  • Assess the significance of mountain EDW
  • Specify the mechanisms that underlie EDW
  • Review the evidence for EDW
  • Assess projections of future EDW and its implications for water, ecosystems, and society
  • Develop satellite-based monitoring of temperatures in mountain regions
  • Examine high-resolution regional and global modeling
  • Design targeted observational campaigns

CE milestones


Paper on "Elevation-dependent warming in mountain regions of the world" in Nature Climate Change published on 23 April 2015. more
Press release on phys.org

CE join


If you have a temperature series for high-elevation sites and wish to contribute that data set to the campaign, or are otherwise interested in contributing to the development of the campaign, please contact Carolina Adler (carolina.adler@giub.unibe.ch)