Mountain Glaciers and Society
Switzerland, October 6 - 8, 2004
synthesis report and group photograph
Synthesis report (pdf format)
Wengen is located in the Bernese Alps, which is famous for its spectacular views and the fact that it is a resort free of car and truck traffic; access is only by rail. If you come by train from Geneva or Zurich Airports, you will need to travel to Bern and then on to Interlaken Ost, which is the start of the Bernese Oberland mountain railroad (Berner Oberland Bahn). If you come by car, you need to park at Lauterbrunnen and take the mountain railroad for the 14-minute journey to Wengen.
Click here to find general information on Wengen and its surroundings.
This site provides you with a link to the Swiss Federal Railroad timetables, which will help you plan your travel to Wengen (if you wish to access the railroad timetable directly, click here)
The Workshop will take place at the
Hotel Regina, located
2 - 3 minutes walk uphill from Wengen station.
Publication of Workshop papers
It will be decided during the meeting whether there is the desire to publish papers presented at the meeting in a peer-reviewed journal or in a book edition of the series Advances in Global Change Research, published by Kluwer Academic Publishers (Dordrecht/The Netherlands and Boston/USA)
An optional excursion is being planned following the close of the Workshop (on October 9, 2004) to the scientific station of the Jungfraujoch , located at 3,600 m above sea-level.
More information on these excursions
will be provided during the Workshop. In addition, the Jungfraujoch High Alpine Research Station
provides information on the scientific aspects of the site.
WENGEN WORKSHOPS ON GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH:
A General Overview
Since 1995 we have held specialized Workshops on themes related to climate and global change research in the mountain resort of Wengen (Bernese Alps, Switzerland). In each case, a number of internationally-recognized experts have actively contibuted to the meetings. Along with young scientists and graduate students, the total number of participants has been about 50. So far, we have held the following Workshops:
For details on the individual Workshops (Workshop Reports), click here
Mountain Glaciers and Society:
Background issues and problem areas
Fluctuations of mountain glaciers are
important sources of information about global climate change patterns. Currently
there is evidence of glacial retreat in many areas of the world that provides
a dramatic and convincing measure of global warming. Glaciers are also physical
features that exert strong effects on human societies, in terms of perception
and in economic terms. The very landscape of numerous mountain societies
has been shaped by former and present-day glaciation, processes that have
also influenced the opportunities and constraints of regions around mountain
glaciers. Melt-waters, for example, provide essential resources for water
and energy, while outburst floods or landslides constitute extreme hazards.
Though the onset of recent phases of retreat predates 20th century warming,
the increased pace of retreat is striking and raises numerous questions about
impacts on society and the capacity of communities to respond to changes.
Because mountain glaciers occur in widely-separated locations, different
cultural traditions prevail, providing opportunity to compare different adaptive
Call for Contributions
In view of the foregoing issues, and
in order to examine a number of the above-mentioned processes from an interdisciplinary
perspective, an interdisciplinary workshop in the “Wengen Workshops on Global
Change Research” series is being planned from October 6-8, 2004.
Cutting across all these thematic areas
are fundamental questions about the way individuals and society interact
with glaciers. People have perceptions and beliefs about glaciers and
glacier processes. The way individuals respond to change is linked to these
perceptions and influences, for example, their detection of changes and analyses
and anticipation of future change. All societies also develop
sets of norms, rules, and policies that regulate the natural world.
Property rights regimes, for example, establish control over the glaciers
themselves, the water they store, and the land underneath, which
appears and disappears as glaciers advance and retreat. How these various
rights are defined will strongly affect the way resources are used and allocated.
Other decision-making process determine policy options. Analysis of decision-making
from different perspectives is relevant in this context, including the use
of historical examples to evaluate strategies adopted by individuals and
groups to deal with past changes, the analysis of the process of decision-making,
and the identification of the appropriate authorities and levels of
organization and action to achieve effective response to different climate
Deadline for submission of papers
Papers should be submitted using the on-line registration form, where you can either type in your text or cut-and-paste your text from a Word file in the space reserved for Abstracts.
THE DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACT SUBMISSION IS MAY 14, 2004.
A preliminary program will be placed on this web-site before June 15, 2004.
Publication of Workshop Results
The output of the meeting should aim at providing a state-of-the-art document on the interdisciplinary issues at hand, which could for example be published in the new series «Advances in Global Change Research» by Kluwer Academic Publishers (Dordrecht/The Netherlands and Boston/USA), or in a peer-reviewed international journal.
In addition, a policy-makers
type paper could be prepared for distribution via international bodies such
as IHDP, EFIEA, and IGBP, to governments and intergovernmental agencies such
as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and of course the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
An optional excursion will be held on Saturday, October 9, 2004, to the Jungfraujoch High Alpine Research Station, (NOTE: this URL is different from the one under the "General Information" Section) Europe’s highest scientific observatory at close to 3,600 m above sea-level (11,800 ft). It is located in the spectacular world of the high Alpine glaciers of the Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau Massif, with views as far as the Black Forest and the Vosges Mountains to the North, and the Valais Alps to the South. The Jungfraujoch is the source of the Aletsch Glacier, which is the longest valley glacier in the Alps.
The High Alpine Research Station is funded by a consortium of countries; Switzerland contributes annually to 50% of its budget. Numerous scientific experiments take place here, from astrophysics and climate research to health and technology-oriented studies. Participants to the excursion will be able to visit some of the experiments taking place at the Jungfraujoch. Weather-permitting, there will also be the possibility of walking on the upper reaches of the Aletsch glacier. Weather-proof clothing and good shoes are essential; persons who are sensitive to low oxygen levels associated with high elevations should seek medical advice prior to the excursion.
We look forward to hearing from you in due course and to meeting you at what will undoubtedly prove to be an exciting meeting.
More information can be obtained on the scientific aspects of the Wengen-2004 Workshop from...
Registration fees are 100 EUROS (approximately USD 100 or CHF 150 at current exchange rates). These fees are payable in cash upon arrival in Wengen.
There are NO registration fees for students, nor for participants from Central and Eastern Europe, and those from Developing Countries.
The Hotel Regina, where the meeting will take place, has set aside a block of rooms at the following special rate for Workshop participants:
CHF 156 per person single
(approx. €100 or US$ 100
at current exchange rates betweeen the Swiss Franc and the Euro and US Dollar)
This rate includes, in additional to the room, a full buffet breakfast, a 5-course evening meal, and all taxes.
Please use the following link for online hotel reservation:
Please insert in the space reserved for "Remarks"
on this reservation form "WENGEN-2004 WORKSHOP". You will not be
required to pay any fees in advance, and you will be granted the special
rate for scientists.
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