Melting and sublimation on Mount Everest's highest glacier due to human-induced climate change have reached the point that several decades of accumulation are being lost annually now that ice has been exposed, according to a University of Maine-led international research team that analyzed data from the world's highest ice core and highest automatic weather stations.

The extreme sensitivity of the high-altitude Himalayan ice masses in rapid retreat forewarns of quickly emerging impacts that could range from increased incidence of avalanches and decreased capacity of the glacier stored water on which more than 1 billion people depend to provide melt for drinking water and irrigation.

Enhanced mountain warming coupled with reduced elevation dependency of precipitation may deplete stores of mountain snow and ice more rapidly than previously thought, new research conducted by the MRI’s Elevation-Dependent Climate Change Working Group has found.

Mountains hold most of the world’s snow and ice outside of polar regions and play an essential role in supplying water to meet the needs of both fragile ecosystems and a significant proportion of the world’s population. By the mid-21st century, it is anticipated that about 1.5 billion people in lowland areas – almost a quarter of the world’s lowland population – will critically depend upon water from mountains. The retreat of glaciers, rising snow lines, and changes in precipitation as a result of climate change, both now and in future, therefore have serious implications.

The International Mountain Conference 2022 will take place 11-15 September in Innsbruck, Austria. Join representatives of the MRI for a number of exciting Focus Sessions!

The International Mountain Conference 2022 (IMC2022) aims to build upon the previous mountain conferences and continue this scientific conference series exclusively targeted towards mountain research. Hosted in the Alps, IMC2022 is a key opportunity for experts from different disciplines to discuss mountain-related issues in a cross-disciplinary setting. The key goals of the conference are to synthesize and enhance our understanding of mountain systems, in particular their response and resilience to global change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has opened registration for the Government and Expert Review of its Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report. Members of the MRI community are encouraged to share their expertise. Registration closes 13 March 2022.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is currently in its sixth assessment cycle, which aims to provide policymakers with scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, and potential adaptation and mitigation strategies.

The UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme has relaunched the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves to create research opportunities and support knowledge exchange on environmental and social issues. The Mountain Research Initiative is proud to be supporting this important network. 

The recently elected technical secretariats of the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves, jointly coordinated by the Research Centre for Eco-Environmental Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (China) and the Biosphere Reserve of the Valles de Omaña y Luna, held its first meeting to prepare the action plan for the upcoming years.

The International Association of Cryospheric Sciences has announced the establishment of a new Joint Body on the Status of Mountain Snow Cover in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization and the Mountain Research Initiative.

Climate change is impacting the amount and distribution of mountain snow cover over space and time. Knowledge of these changes is of great importance for research and practice, not least given the important role that snow plays for mountain ecosystems, natural hazards, and tourism, as well as providing a source of water for ecosystems and humans. Despite the high relevance of snow in mountain regions, an inventory for mountain snow cover and the underlying processes comparable on a global scale are still lacking. Even regional inventories are strongly limited to a few well-monitored mountain ranges, such as in the U.S. Rockies and the European Alps.

The Mountain Research Initiative is delighted to welcome two new members to our Science Leadership Council, who will provide advice and impetus for our scientific activities. We also extend our sincere thanks to those SLC members who ended their terms in 2021.

The Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) Science Leadership Council (SLC) provides the MRI with direction, priorities, objectives, and advice on scientific or technical requirements for our activities, ensuring oversight for the MRI as a project. MRI SLC members are observers of the strategic environment, are key contributors to research on mountain regions, and – through their own activities – carry forward the MRI's scientific agenda.

The UN General Assembly has designated 2022 the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. All governments, international organizations, and stakeholders are invited to observe the International Year to increase awareness of the importance of sustainable mountain development and the conservation and sustainable use of mountain ecosystems.

Through this resolution, UN Member States acknowledge that mountain regions, especially in developing countries, are experiencing increasing poverty, food insecurity, social exclusion, environmental degradation and exposure to the risk of disasters, and access to basic services is limited. These include safe and affordable drinking water, basic sanitation, and sustainable modern energy services.

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