Mountain Weather and Climate: A General Overview and a Focus on Climatic Change in the Alps
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Meteorological and climatic processes in mountain regions play a key role in many environmental systems, in particular the quantity and quality of water that influences both aquatic ecosystems and economic systems often far beyond the boundaries of the mountains themselves. This paper will provide a general overview of some of the particular characteristics of mountain weather and climate, to highlight some of the unique atmospheric features that are associated with regions of complex topography. The second part of the paper will focus upon characteristics of climate and climatic change in the European Alps, a region with a wealth of high quality data that allows an assessment on how climate and dependent environmental systems have evolved in the course of the 20th century and how alpine climate may undergo further changes to “global warming” in the 21st century, as the atmosphere responds to increasing levels of greenhouse gases that are expected in coming decades.
Keywordsclimatic change climate impacts Alps
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