Around 12% of humanity lives in mountain areas, but more than half of the world population benefits from mountains and their resources (water, energy, minerals, etc.). Mountains are highly sensitive spaces in ecologic and economic terms. Investigating the impact of climate change and globalization is therefore of great relevance for the future living conditions of mankind.
With the IGF Austria has created a research institution which has put the Alpine country in a leading position in the field of Mountain Science. Research at the IGF is dedicated to Global Change and its impact on mountain areas across the world:
- More than 400 monitoring stations (in 120 study areas) in the major mountain areas of the world (GLORIA),
- Capturing and analysing glacier movements and mass balances
- Socio-economic and ecologic long-term monitoring for the entire Alpine Space.
Capturing climate change and its consequences or the effects of Global Change is impossible without long-term monitoring. By creating the IGF the Austrian Academy of Sciences has made such monitoring possible.
Long-term measurements form the basis of numerical models in basic research and in specific applications. These are made available to the international research community via dedicated websites.
At the IGF we also investigate climate change and globalization in terms of the relations of humans with the environment in cultural landscapes, mountain cities and in protected mountain areas. To this end we apply inter- and transdisciplinary approaches and cooperate with international partners. This is unique in Austria, but even at international level few mountain research institutes work with an inter- and transdisciplinary approach.