MRI News

The Adrien Guébhard-Séverine prize is awarded for an outstanding PhD thesis in the field of hydrogeology or geothermal energy. 

The Adrien Guébhard-Séverine prize is awarded annually or every two years by the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland to a student who has completed a PhD thesis in the field of hydrogeology or geothermal energy. The prize honours the memory of Dr. Adrien Guébhard-Séverine (1849-1924), a native of Neuchâtel and an associate professor of physics at the Faculty of Medicine of Paris, France, as well as a geologist and prehistorian.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group (WG) II contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) is now entering its next phase; between 4 December 2020 and 29 January 2021, governments and expert reviewers are invited to provide comments on the Second Order Draft. Earlier this month, in collaboration with the IPCC WGII Technical Support Unit (TSU), the MRI held two virtual webinars to offer information about the AR6 and the expert review, with a view to encouraging experts and early career researchers to take part in this important step in the report’s development.

In addition to key sectoral and regional chapters, the IPCC WGII contribution to AR6 also features a dedicated Cross-Chapter Paper on Mountains, to which many from the MRI community are contributing as coordinating lead authors, lead authors, review editors, contributing authors – and you, as expert reviewers. The expert review is an essential stage in the preparation of IPCC reports. It ensures that the reports cover the most up-to-date scientific, technical, and socio-economic findings, and are representative of a broad range of independent expertise from developed and developing countries. But what exactly does the expert review role and process involve, and how can you participate?

From January 2021, Mountain Research Initiative Executive Director Dr. Carolina Adler will become the new MountainMedia Editor for the journal Mountain Research and Development (MRD), taking over the reins from Professor Martin Price following his decision to step down after 27 years in the role.

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2020 took place virtually this month. Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) Science Leadership Council members Bryan Mark and Shawn Marshall and MRI Scientific Project Officer Gabrielle Vance convened three exciting sessions (one poster, two oral) around the theme of Environmental and Climate Change in Global Mountain Regions. The MRI also organized an informal side event to complement the AGU sessions. 

Mountains are sensitive to global climate, hold valued archives of changes over time, and closely couple resources and risks to society.  The MRI AGU sessions invited contributions examining past, present, and future environmental change and associated societal impacts in mountain regions. The co-conveners sought measurement and modelling studies of the changing climate, cryosphere, hydrology, and ecology of global mountain environments, including their couplings and implications for mountain social-ecological systems (e.g. hazards, fire, water resources, and other socio-cultural impacts).

In this interview, Professor Adrienne Grêt-Regamey, Chair of Planning Landscapes and Urban Systems at ETH Zurich and MRI Principal Investigator, discusses mountain ecosystem services under pressure and the vital role of landscape planning in securing them for the future.

As the Chair of Planning Landscape and Urban Systems (PLUS) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Professor Adrienne Grêt-Regamey leads research into how humans shape landscapes, and vice versa. In a recent study published in the journal Ecosystem Services, for example, Prof. Grêt-Regamey and her co-author Bettina Weibel conducted a global assessment of mountain ecosystem services using earth observation data. In undertaking this research, Grêt-Regamey explains, they wanted to understand how mountains, as “sensitive social-ecological systems” and “sentinels of global change,” provide insights into “the effects of land use and population change on ecosystem services across the world.”

In an article published last month in the journal Ecosystem Services, MRI Principal Investigator Prof. Adrienne Grêt-Regamey and her co-author Bettina Weibel investigate the specific contribution of mountain areas to ecosystem services.

Every year since 2003, the UN declared International Mountain Day (IMD) is observed on 11 December, highlighting the issues and achievements that concern mountains, worldwide. This year, we reflect on the theme of “biodiversity” and the importance of recognising the value of mountains, for instance in hosting about half of the world's biodiversity hotspots. We also recall the crucial contributions that the mountain research community can make to safeguard mountain biodiversity as a global common good.

The 18th Swiss Geosciences Meeting (SGM) took place virtually earlier this month, offering a series of scientific symposia on the diverse spectrum of current research in geosciences, encompassing the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the biosphere, the atmosphere, and the anthroposphere. Among the sessions on offer was the cross-cutting theme for the session titled 'Mountains as Contexts of Global Change', co-convened by the MRI, the Interdisciplinary Center for Mountain Research (CIRM), and the SCNAT Forum Landscapes, Alps and Parks (FoLAP).

Mountain regions offer concrete contexts through which challenges and opportunities of global change are experienced, perceived, and enacted. Combining multiple and diverse knowledge streams across the natural and social sciences, accounting for the complexity of social-ecological interactions, are increasingly called for in mountain research. So, how are we tracking along this imperative, and what exemplars of this type of integrative research are currently being undertaken by Swiss-based and other geoscientists working in mountains, worldwide?

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