Although the main focus of HE to date has been development of the Science Plan, the Steering Committee has also been assessing the research actions, coordination mechanisms, the links to other CEOP subgroups, and the need for effective internal and external coordination which make up the foundation of such a strategy.
Mostly important, the work of the HE group will need to correspond to the overall strategic objectives and implementation plan of GEWEX and CEOP, while HE research will also foresee collaboration with other CEOP elements, including Regional Hydroclimate Projects (MAHASRI, CPPA), other Regional Studies (Cold Region Studies, Monsoons, SARS) and Cross-Cutting working groups (WEBS, Extremes, Aerosol) and Modelling Studies.
To reach its objectives, HE intends to set up a coordinated global high altitude network of observation stations, ensuring uniform data where possible and encouraging the establishment of CEOP-HE sites in poorly represented areas, while also making provisions for more homogenous data and station management procedures. New sites in the HE network may include, but would not be limited to, officially recognized CEOP Reference Sites (CRSs). Hydro-climatic data from HE stations will be systematically identified, collected, analyzed and published to make the study of climatic conditions in high elevation environments possible.
More specifically, coordinated mechanisms will be developed to facilitate and encourage the harmonization and exchange of data and expertise among researchers concerned with high elevations. Research will focus on the analysis of meteo-climate and hydrological conditions over time in high elevation areas to better comprehend the processes and mechanisms regulating the water and energy budget there. Local environmental responses to global climate change will also be evaluated, as will the impacts of natural and anthropogenic aerosols on the climate and hydrological cycle. Use of the resulting data to improve modeling and forecasting capacities will be promoted.
The creation of a critical mass within the international scientific community of researchers interested in the study of water and energy cycle at high elevations will be key to ensuring that the goals of CEOP-HE are met.