Join us for a social media ecology trek in the Austrian Alps

Starting at 10 a.m. Sept. 9

Mountain meadow in the eastern Alps. @bberwyn photo.

Some of the best information on how global warming is reshaping the world’s mountains comes from networks of long-term ecological research sites, where scientists have documented significant changes in stream, meadow and forest ecosystems.

Establishing a long and continuous record of data from consistent locations is key to evaluating the impacts of climate change and other influences. Again and again, scientists advocate for more resources to take those measurements as the best way to help us adapt for coming changes.

This Friday, September 9, we will be in the field with an Austrian scientists who is measuring plant communities in traditional mountain pastures in and around Gesäuse National Park, near the town of Admont, Styria, with a lunch visit to the Kölblalm.

We’ll stream parts of our interview live via Twitter and Instagram, where readers can post questions or comments about global warming impacts in the Alps. We’ll pass the questions along to our scientist guide, or try to answer them from the reporting we’ve done for the project. We’ll also post a short update here on the blog after the visit.Contact us if you’d like to receive notifications of future posts.

In the Rocky Mountains, for example, long-term research at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte, Colorado, has yielded a treasure trove of climate findings. The summer wildflower season is already a month longer than just a few decades ago; but birds and bugs who follow the seasons are out of synch with important food sources, according to University of Maryland Biology Professor David Inouye.

In the Alps, weather records go back even farther, and researchers have documented significant mount warming, at twice the global rate around some of the range’s highest peaks, consistent with the steady, decades-long decline of Alpine glaciers. During an intense 2015 summer heatwave, some of Austria’s glaciers melted back hundreds of feet.

Check our recent project update with photo galleries and video clips from our reporting here.

And learn a little bit about life on a high-mountain dairy farm here.

Author: Bob Berwyn

Environmental journalist covering climate change, forests, water, mountains and biodiversity.

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