EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of CIRMOUNTS's forthcoming publication: "Mapping New Terrain"

MTNCLIM is a project of the newly formed Consortium for Integrated Climate Research in Western Mountains (CIRMOUNT). CIRMOUNT was initiated several years ago by a cross-section of physical and ecological scientists working on western United States mountain climate and ecosystems who decided that there is need for more communication, improved observations, better integration, and greater attention to the vulnerability of western mountain resources to climate variability and change. An ad hoc committee formed to promote greater understanding of the physical processes affecting western mountains and their ecosystems, and to promote better communication of scientific findings to policy- and decision-makers. In May, 2004, this committee sponsored the “Mountain Climate Sciences Symposium” at Lake Tahoe (presentations and poster pdfs available at: and Northern 1993/) to identify the range of topics that CIRMOUNT should address and to envision projects that the consortium could undertake.

Participants at the Symposium proposed a research initiative aimed at improving our understanding and ability to predict future climate and ecosystem changes in the West. In particular, they agreed that strategies were needed to encourage close collaboration among researchers from many scientific disciplines regarding the likely impacts that temperature and precipitation changes arising from both natural variability and greenhouse warming would have on western mountain ecosystems. Answering these questions will be critical in assessing their impacts on the hydrology of the West, and how those changes may be linked to ecosystem goods and services.

Participants agreed that a biennial science conference, MTNCLIM, would help to improve communications between disciplines and among scientists, managers, and policy makers, and would provide a forum for making concrete progress toward CIRMOUNT’s goals.

Furthermore, four urgent challenges facing western North America climate science and policy communities were identified:

Mountain regions are vastly under-instrumented to measure climate and longterm changes
Research on western mountain climates & ecosystems is intensive, but scattered and poorly integrated
Societal demands on western mountain ecosystems are exponentially escalating, imposing new stresses on natural resources and rural community capacities
Climate change is widely ignored in mountain land-use planning and natural-resource policy to the detriment of conserving ecosystems and their natural resources

Tuolomne region, Yosemite National Park

In confronting these challenges, CIRMOUNT seeks to provide a forum that is responsive to the needs and challenges of western society imposed by climate changes on mountain ecosystems. CIRMOUNT aims to:

Implement coordinated high-elevation climate and ecosystem monitoring (observation)
Catalyze integrated research within and among mountain regions (research)
Provide sound science for effective land-use planning and management (communication and decision-support)
Promote development of longterm, policy-relevant mountain climate and ecosystem databases (research, observation, communication, and decision-support)

CIRMOUNT aligns with the goals of the U.S. federal Climate Change Science Program ( and has been endorsed as a pilot regional project of the international Mountain Research Initiative (


MTNCLIM 2005 PROGRAM BOOK (identical to printed version at Chico)

ABSTRACTS of talks and posters presented

individual PDF files of full presentations

The MTNCLIM 2005 conference included parts of four days, beginning with dinner and an evening program on March 1, and ending with lunch March 4.

The initial evening included a roundup of CIRMOUNT events, a review of the past year’s mountain climate, and a keynote speaker (with another keynote address planned for mid-conference).

Two invited speaker special-session themes addressed:

           I.  Drought, Water Resources, and Ecosystems
           II. Climate Variability: Adaptation, Mitigation, and Restoration

Sessions of contributed talks were interspersed with invited sessions, for a total of 21 contributed talks (20 mins each), and poster sessions addressed the following six themes:

           Mountain Monitoring Networks
           Climate & Disturbance Regimes
           Water, Ice, and Water Resources
           Paleoecology & Paleoclimatology
           Climate Variability: Adaptation, Mitigation, and Restoration
           Urban/Social Interactions with Climate

Mt Dunderberg, Sierra Nevada


Initial Working Group Announcements (6 Working Groups)

Working Group sessions, which convened at MTNCLIM 2005, drew together action-oriented, product-driven participation groups. Work Groups were tasked with soliciting inputs and collaborations aimed at making concrete and ongoing progress toward specific CIRMOUNT goals. Working Groups include:

          Mountain-Based Hydrologic Observatories and Observations for the 21st Century
             Roger Bales, University of California, Merced, CA, & Mike Dettinger, USGS, La Jolla, CA
             HYDRO OBSERVE Working Group Discussion SUMMARY

         North American GLORIA (Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments),
             Connie Millar, USFS-PSW Research Station, Albany, CA, & Dan Fagre, USGS,
             Biological Resources Division, W Glacier, MT
             GLORIA Working Group Discussion SUMMARY

          Paleoclimatology & Water Resources Management: Time for an integrated paleo-resource?
             Connie Woodhouse, NOAA, Boulder, CO, & Franco Biondi, University of Nevada, Reno, NV
             PALEOCLIM Working Group Discussion SUMMARY

          Installing Climate Observation Networks
             Kelly Redmond, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV
             MONET Working Group Discussion SUMMARY

          CIRMOUNT, MRI and Mountain Climate Research Worldwide
             Greg Greenwood, Mountain Research Initiative, Berne, Switzerland
             INTERNATIONAL Working Group Discussion SUMMARY

          Mountain Ecosystem Responses to Climate in the North American West and CIRMOUNT Goals
             Jeremy Littell, University of Washington, Seattle, WA & Jeff Hicke, Colorado State University,
             Ft. Collins, CO
             ECO RESPONSE Working Group Discussion SUMMARY

Ideas & volunteers for leading new working groups are welcome; send these to

A post-conference workshop, "Climate Variability and Change: An Overview of our Current Understanding with Implications for Park & Natural Areas Management", occurred Friday afternoon, March 4, 1:30-5:00 pm, as an opportunity for resource managers to learn about implications of climate variability to resource management, conservation, and restoration. The workshop was taught by Steve Gray (USGS-Tucson), Lisa Graumlich (Big Sky Institute, Montana State University), and Tom Oliff (NPS, Yellowstone National Park).

Information on the workshop and registration is attached here: MANAGERS WORKSHOP

Glacial features, E Sierra Nevada


Coming soon


MTNCLIM 2005 and the post-conference workshop convened at Chico Hot Springs Resort, Pray, Montana (, located on 150 pristine acres in the Absaroka Mountains, 30 miles north of Yellowstone National Park and a 1-hour drive from Bozeman, MT airport. The resort is a historic lodge and property, with two open-air mineral hot springs and opportunities (weather depending) for alpine and cross-country skiing, dog-sledding, horse-back riding, and hiking.


Constance I. Millar, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Albany CA
Lisa J. Graumlich, Montana State University, Big Sky Institute, Bozeman, MT USA
Henry F. Diaz, NOAA, Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO USA, and

Daniel R. Cayan, University of California, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA USA
Michael D. Dettinger, USGS Water Resources Division, La Jolla, CA USA
Daniel B. Fagre, USGS Biological Resources Division, West Glacier, MT USA
Greg Greenwood, Mountain Research Initiative, Berne, Switzerland
Malcolm K. Hughes, University of Arizona, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Tucson, AZ USA
David L. Peterson, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Seattle, WA USA
Frank L. Powell, University of California, White Mountain Research Station, San Diego, CA USA
Kelly T. Redmond, Desert Research Institute, Western Regional Climate Center, Reno, NV USA
Nathan L. Stephenson, USGS Biological Resources Division, Three Rivers, CA USA
Thomas W. Swetnam, University of Arizona, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Tucson, AZ USA
Connie Woodhouse, NOAA, Paleoclimatology Branch, Boulder, CO

Lundy Canyon, E Sierra Nevada


Program Inquiries (Co-Chairs)

Dr. Constance I. Millar, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Albany CA
  ph: 510-559-6435; email:
Dr. Lisa J. Graumlich, Montana State University, Big Sky Institute, Bozeman, MT USA
  ph: 406-994-5320, email:
Dr. Henry F. Diaz, NOAA, Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO USA
  ph: 303-497-6640; email:

Conference Logistics

Ms. Carren Stewart
Big Sky Institute, Montana State University
106 AJM Johnson Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717
ph: 406-994-2374

  USDA Forest Service. Last modified: 3/11/05
  ©Copyright, 2003
. Pacific Southwest Research Station