Rapidly melting glaciers or more frequent landslides and rockfalls due to thawing permafrost - climate change is having a particularly strong impact in mountain regions. In the Climate Change Graz profile area, scientists are researching the consequences of climatic changes and ways to prepare against them. Two projects from the Earth Sciences and Geography are now being funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) as part of the Earth System Sciences program.
In the project "Qualitative and quantitative impact of climate change on alpine spring waters and their microbial biodiversity - an eco-hydrogeological approach", researchers led by Gerfried Winkler are investigating how spring discharges are affected by climate change. Among other things, the scientists are surveying the microbial biodiversity of alpine spring waters and developing a proposal for an integrative eco-hydrogeological classification.
In the project "Moving mountains - landslides as geosystem services in Austrian geoparks", led by Martin Mergili, the role of landslides as geosystem services is being researched, i.e. how such events can be used for the benefit of society. A special focus is on environmental education in the three Austrian UNESCO Global Geoparks "Steirische Eisenwurzen", "Karawanken/Karavanke" and "Ore of the Alps".