MOUNTerrain Session at Fall AGU Meeting

Precipitation over Mountainous Terrain: Observations, Understanding, Modeling, and Future Prospects

A successful session on MOUNTerrain was held during the Fall 2015 AGU Meeting from 14-18 December 2015, which reflects the importance of the topic and the level of research activity in the area. The conveners ran one oral session and one poster session, with a total of 25 presentations. The keynote address was given by Ron Smith (Yale) on “Global aspects of orographic precipitation,” discussing similarities and differences in orographic precipitation processes between the tropics and extra-tropics.

Presentations covered mountain precipitation across most of the globe: Asia, Europe, the Americas, Australasia, and many tropical regions. General themes touched on in the presentations included:

  • Land surface and biosphere processes and their effects on precipitation in mountainous terrain
  • Remote sensing and estimation of precipitation in alpine regions
  • Seasonality of alpine precipitation
  • Effects of wind flow on precipitation patterns in mountainous terrain
  • Precipitation extremes
  • Alpine precipitation trends and climate change
  • Modelling alpine precipitation, from the mesoscale to the global scale

There are overlaps between MOUNTerrain and the SPICE (Solid Precipitation InterComparison Experiment, program, and synergies with water resources, hydrology, and climate change research, all of which were touched on in the sessions. MOUNTerrain chair James Renwick also participated in a side event organised by MRI, the Mountain Research Initiative (, hosted by Greg Greenwood. There is potential for collaboration on research in mountain regions, especially in terms of linking physical climate studies fostered by MOUNTerrain with the more ecosystem- and society-focused work done under the umbrella of the MRI.