Research Topic

Connecting Mountain Hydroclimate Through the American Cordilleras

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About this Research Topic

In North, Central, and South America, Mountains are characteristic landscape features across the Continent. Cordilleras traverse entire countries either on the eastern or the western coast. While Eastern Cordilleras are usually isolated chains, such as the Appalachian Mountains in the United States and the ...

In North, Central, and South America, Mountains are characteristic landscape features across the Continent. Cordilleras traverse entire countries either on the eastern or the western coast. While Eastern Cordilleras are usually isolated chains, such as the Appalachian Mountains in the United States and the Cordillera Central in the Dominican Republic, on the Western coast they configure an almost continuous chain, traversing more than 15,000 km from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego, even continuing into the Antarctic Continent. Summits in excess of 2,000 m are ubiquitous in all American countries, with certain regions concentrating peaks well above 6,000 m.

Cordilleras throughout the Continent modify and interact with large scale atmospheric circulation and thus determine particular hydroclimatic regimes across the Continent, in turn producing the environmental conditions that have allowed biodiversity and human development to thrive for millennia.

Nowadays, a growing body of research documents the vulnerability of mountain environments to global environmental changes, and more specifically the impacts of warming trends, precipitation and land cover changes on hydrology. In the case of the American Cordilleras, however, research to date has generally concerned with specific sub-regions, and thus an interhemispheric view is lacking. Given the extensive range that the American Cordilleras transect, there might be similar challenges yet to be unveiled and studied. For example, mid-latitude ranges located in different hemispheres, such as the Sierra Nevada in the United States and the Central-South Andes of Chile and Argentina, share similar climatic characteristics and remain strikingly vulnerable to the same hydrological hazards, such as droughts, snow cover decrease, glacier shrinkage, among others; and these vulnerabilities may bring analogous challenges for future hydroelectricity generation and agricultural production in both regions. In this research topic, we request contributions targeting hydroclimatic research across the Mountains of the American Continent.

We welcome contributions on site-specific studies, regional-level research, and review papers that provide new insights on the hydroclimate of these regions. More specifically, we welcome cross-disciplinary and transdisciplinary studies addressing:

• Mountain-atmosphere interactions;
• Precipitation variability and change;
• Streamflow change;
• Groundwater changes;
• Wetlands dynamics;
• Soil moisture fluctuations;
• Mountain cryosphere changes;
• Socio-hydrological couplings between Mountain hydroclimate and downstream dynamics; and
• Inter-hemispheric comparisons of mountain hydroclimatology.

Site-specific and regional-level studies may include analysis of instrumental observations, proxy-based hydroclimatic reconstructions, remote sensing, numerical modeling (including future projections), and mixed methods.


Keywords: Mountain hydroclimate, American Cordilleras, Cryosphere, Streamflow, Socio-hydrology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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