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Elevation-dependent warming in mountain regions of the world

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nathan Forsythe, Professor Hayley Fowler

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Abstract

There is growing evidence that the rate of warming is amplified with elevation, such that high-mountain environments experience more rapid changes in temperature than environments at lower elevations. Elevation-dependent warming (EDW) can accelerate the rate of change in mountain ecosystems, cryospheric systems, hydrological regimes and biodiversity. Here we review important mechanisms that contribute towards EDW: snow albedo and surface-based feedbacks; water vapour changes and latent heat release; surface water vapour and radiative flux changes; surface heat loss and temperature change; and aerosols. All lead to enhanced warming with elevation (or at a critical elevation), and it is believed that combinations of these mechanisms may account for contrasting regional patterns of EDW. We discuss future needs to increase knowledge of mountain temperature trends and their controlling mechanisms through improved observations, satellite-based remote sensing and model simulations.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Pepin N, Bradley RS, Diaz HF, Baraer M, Caceres EB, Forsythe N, Fowler H, Greenwood G, Hashmi MZ, Liu XD, Miller JR, Ning L, Ohmura A, Palazzi E, Rangwala I, Schöner W, Severskiy I, Shahgedanova M, Wang MB, Williamson SN, Yang DQ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Climate Change

Year: 2015

Volume: 5

Issue: 5

Pages: 424-430

Print publication date: 01/05/2015

Online publication date: 23/04/2015

Acceptance date: 06/02/2015

Date deposited: 16/06/2015

ISSN (print): 1758-678X

ISSN (electronic): 1758-6798

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2563

DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2563


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