Hannes Richter

Lecture | The Cassandra Dilemma - What Mountain Plants Tell Us about Climate Change

Hannes Richter

On June 24, 2013, the Embassy hosted a special lecture by Austrian Scientist of the Year, Professor Georg Grabherr, who spoke about the consequences of climate change and the establishment of the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA). Around 100 guests attended the event, which was followed by a wine and cheese reception.

About the lecture

The consequences of climate change, though regionally variable, are affecting natural and human habitats globally. Plants, animals, and microbes living close to their low temperature limits – as in mountainous regions from the tropics to the Arctic – offer a unique chance to monitor and study the effects of a warming climate on ecological systems at high elevations in different regions of the world. The “Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA)” began to exploit this opportunity 25 years ago by establishing more than 100 long-term observation sites, where permanent recording devices are fixed in selected summit areas to collect data. GLORIA’s research utilizes the results of naturally occurring processes in the mountains, where the impact of global warming can be measured apart from the direct impact of humans, and is based on three simple principles: cost-effectiveness, time savings, and scientific validity.

About the speaker

Georg Grabherr is the Deputy Director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Mountain Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He previously served as department head and full professor of conservation biology, vegetation, and landscape ecology at the University of Vienna. In 1988, Grabherr cofounded GLORIA, the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments, an international research network of which he is the chairman. In 2012, the Austrian Club of Education and Science Journalists elected Grabherr as Austrian Scientist of the Year for his exceptional research and his ability and dedication to explain his research to the nonscientific public.

Learn more about GLORIA here: http://www.gloria.ac.at/