Monitoring activities are devoted to the characterization of the current state of the climate and the environment in mountain regions and they include:
(a) Quantitative assessment of atmospheric composition variability (atmospheric pollutants and climate-altering compounds) in the mountain regions of Italy.The activity is conducted at the Climate Observatory of Monte Cimone, the only "Global Station"of the GAW-WMO network in Italy, and at a nationwide network of measurement stations.
Ib) Implementation of an integrated high-altitude network of climate monitoring in the mountain regions of Italy, starting from the global and regional GAW stations present in Italy;
(c) Estimation of Elevation Dependent Warming in the Italian mountains;
(d) Assessment of the climatology of temperature and precipitation with spatial resolution of 1 km, for the Italian mountains with altitude above 1500 meters.
(e) In situ measurements of sample glaciers and remote sensing observations, including satellite images, will provide information on the status of Alpine glaciers (areal extent with accuracy of 2% and volume estimates). An updated inventory of glaciers and a quantitative database of Italian glacial resources and their evolution in recent decades will be produced;
(f) Assessment of the current conditions of snow cover (thickness and extension) in specific Italian mountain areas, by means of in situ data analysis, satellite observations and climate modelling, with a spatial resolution of at least 10 km;
(g) Measurements of the hydrological cycle and of the status of surface and groundwater resources in mountain test sites, through the collection of existing data and new measurements during the project, including geological information and information on aquifers and their extension;
Ecosystems and biodiversity
(h) Collection of data on mountain ecosystems from the Italian sites contributing to ILTER (International Long-Term Ecological Research network) and LTER-Europe.
(i) Measurements and observations of biodiversity in high-altitude regions, through the collection of biodiversity data, distribution of animal species, population dynamics of important species (as keystone, flagship species);
(l) Quantitative estimate of biogeochemical flows (water, carbon) through soil, vegetation and atmosphere in test sites, for determining the dynamics and the carbon source/sink behavior in selected types of alpine ecosystems;
(m) Analysis of the dynamics of alpine meadows in the context of climate and land use changes, focusing on changes in sheep management and cattle grazing and on the interactions with wild ungulates, using in situ measurements and satellite observations;
This area of activity will lead to the construction of a system of distributed thematic archives, from which the data and the results produced by the project can be downloaded (thematic maps; results; climate, hydrological and ecosystem indices; and numerical simulation products). Particular attention will be given to the validation, quality control and harmonization of data, often coming from different sources.
The data will be analysed and interpreted in order to obtain a state of the art as complete as possible on the state and ongoing changes in the Italian mountains.