A perfect correlation: ice cream and elevation-dependent warming
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A perfect correlation: ice cream and elevation-dependent warming

The 17th Mountain Meteorology Conference of the American Meteorological Society convened in Burlington, Vermont, at the end of June. From the meeting hotel which was just off the lake front, there was a wonderful view across Lake Champlain to the Adirondack Mountains. There were four full days of meetings (about 100 talks and 50 posters), […]

What lies hidden, beneath and within
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What lies hidden, beneath and within

Mountains are more than just rock We often think of mountains in terms of rocks, geological upheavals, massive rock folding, cliffs, traverses, north faces, tree lines, alpine vegetation, rain, snow, wetlands, glaciers and those very important ‘water towers’ – everything to do with the outside of the mountains. We seldom consider what is inside or […]

Not as planned
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Not as planned

The five-week start to our summer field season in Colorado’s Elk Mountains did not go as planned. Field science is the art of intense planning followed by straying. Field time leads to new insights that inform the research, while other times straying from the plan is due to mistakes or chance events. Both are a […]

Sediment disaster mitigation: When is the price tag too high?
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Sediment disaster mitigation: When is the price tag too high?

In Japan, the government spends a lot of money to reduce sediment disasters in mountains, disasters which claim lives, property and valuable forest resources. For example, in a small village surrounded by high mountains in Shizuoka prefecture (central Japan), the government has spent more than 400 million yen (US$ 4 million) per year on sediment disaster […]

Weather lessons learned (or not) in the European Alps (Part 2)
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Weather lessons learned (or not) in the European Alps (Part 2)

I’ve always enjoyed thunderstorms, and look forward to the dozen or so that pass each year over my home in Eugene, Oregon. And as an avid backpacker, climber, skier and kayaker I’ve occasionally found myself cowering from the wind, rain, small hail and lightning during storms in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, but these events […]

Teaching catchment and river management in the Drakensbergs
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Teaching catchment and river management in the Drakensbergs

Erosion is a major problem in the Drakensberg and foothills I have always been interested in catchment and river management and this interest grew from my widespread experience as a mountaineer and hiker, and during my Master’s degree in Regional Planning.  In addition, over the last fourteen years, I have worked as a lecturer in […]

Wanted: US5$ million against invasives
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Wanted: US5$ million against invasives

‘Mountain gardening’ might not sound like an expensive exercise. However, some of our mountains are so overrun with weeds that drastic ‘gardening’ on a macro-scale will be necessary to clean up this green pollution. Alien invasive species cause huge amounts of destruction that is not necessarily evident to the untrained eye. For instance, aggressive woody […]

Shaxi: Of trades both ancient and modern
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Shaxi: Of trades both ancient and modern

There are frequently articles in the New York Times about distant, exotic places but the one about Shaxi caught my eye, not least because it mentioned the Tea Horse Road. As described by National Geographic’s Mark Jenkins, “The ancient passageway once stretched almost 1,400 miles across the chest of Cathay, from Yaan, in the tea-growing […]