The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) recently invited all interested participants to review the draft of its 2021 Status Report.

Human populations in both upland and connected downstream regions rely greatly on ecosystem goods and services provided by mountainous environments. Yet being often extremely steep, remote, and/or inhospitable, mountains represent rather unique contexts, with obstacles to making representative and informative environmental observations being numerous.

As such, this review process provides an excellent opportunity for mountain researchers and practitioners (including but not limited to members of the MRI and participants in GEO Mountains) to help ensure that the critical observational needs for climate-related variables in mountainous terrain specifically is emphasised.

As recent work conducted under GEO Mountains that is due for publication shortly1 has concluded, this could involve the proposition of additional variables that are “uniquely critical” in mountainous environments. Moreover, it may be that the attributes (e.g. spatial resolution) of certain variables that are already deemed “essential” at a global level by GCOS have to be adjusted in order to render them useful (or more useful) in mountainous terrain.

Therefore, we strongly encourage contributions that draw on the broad and varied experience of mountain observation, research, practice, and policy that is embedded within our networks. In this way, it is hoped that the specificities of observing climate-related environmental variables in mountainous environments are appropriately conveyed, and contribute to informing the coordination and systematisation of such observations at the global level.

The draft report can be accessed here. The review processes commenced on the 15 February, and the deadline for comments is 2 April 2021.

GCOS logoThe following background material is provided by GCOS:

This important report provides an overview of the adequacy of the observing system as a whole and considers the status of observations of each Essential Climate Variable (ECV). It covers atmospheric, oceanic, terrestrial, cryospheric and hydrological variables. Its publication will be followed by an implementation plan in 2022 that will address gaps and new and developing needs. The report will be considered by the UNFCCC, sponsors of GCOS and other international observing systems. The public review of the 2021 GCOS Status Report is open to all and we look forward to your comments. Your input will help shape the global climate observing system in the next 6 years. Comments will be considered by the GCOS expert panels (atmosphere, ocean and terrestrial as appropriate) who will adjust the document accordingly. After addressing all the comments, the revised draft will be considered by the GCOS Steering Committee for approval and publication. GCOS aims to publish this report in July 2021 and submit it for consideration by the UNFCCC and the GCOS sponsors. While we ask for some information about reviewers this will only be used to check if there is a good regional and gender balance and range of expertise. We will acknowledge reviewers submitting comments by name and affiliation.

This is news item from GEO Mountains.

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1Thornton, J.M. et al. 'Towards a definition of Essential Mountain Climate Variables.' Under review, One Earth.

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