SHARE - Stations at High Altitude for Research on the Environment 

Originally launched as an integrated system of measurements in environmental and Earth sciences in the Himalaya - Karakorum region, SHARE increasingly responds to an international call for information on the effects of climate change.  According to a 2007 IPCC report, worldwide climate change threatens ecosystem balance and, as a consequence, life on Earth. To deal with this situation and ensure sustainable management of our natural resources, policymakers, particularly in developing countries, need an objective source of information describing the current climate conditions and their modifications. Several international agencies are now engaged in the evaluation of actions for reducing global warming and the elaboration of adaptation and mitigation strategies regarding the potential environmental and socioeconomic consequences.

Given the recognized fragility of mountain ecosystems, their influence on global processes, and the significant amount of natural resources (water, energy, wood, food, etc.) coming from mountain areas, environmental data collected there is priceless. Mountains represent 25% of the Earth's surface and they are a unique source of energy, biodiversity, minerals, forests and agriculture - all essential for human survival.  Recently, the United Nations General Assembly recognized mountains as ideal and vastly representative locations for the study of climate change, calling for an enhancement of research efforts in these areas.  Knowledge accumulated through SHARE in the fields of atmosphere and meteorology, glaciology, hydrology and limnology, geophysics and natural risks, has proven essential to support decision-making processes, which can benefit from a greater understanding of climate change on local, regional and global levels.

Increased time-space knowledge on the whole environmental system, important for detecting climate changes, can be provided through global monitoring.  Monitoring networks today need to take into account the complex interactions between the ecosphere components and apply a whole-planet approach.  Several monitoring networks already exist which collect climate, atmospheric and terrestrial data, such as:

-    Project Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABC) - UNEP.
-    AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) - NASA
-    Coordinated Enhanced Observing Period (CEOP)-WMO
-    Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) - WMO
-    Global Land Ice Measurement from Space (GLIMS) - NASA
-    Global Seismographic Network (GSN)
-    International GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) Service (IGS)
-    International Long-term Ecological Research Network (ILTER)

The SHARE environmental monitoring system, which specializes in collecting important but otherwise unobtainable data at high altitudes, contributes information to several of the above networks.  Particularly requested is information on meteo-climate parameters, atmospheric chemical measurements, limnological and paleolimnological analysis on high altitude lakes, glaciological data and precise measurement of Earth surface coordinates.  To better respond to the global environmental problems, SHARE has expanded its network beyond Asia (Nepal and Pakistan) to include stations in Africa (Uganda) and Europe (Italy and other EC Countries), with expansion to South America in the planning stages. 


-    Contribute to study of climate change impacts and adaptation strategies, with special attention to water resources, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation and food security.
-    Make new and more complete information on climate changes and their local, regional and global consequences available to governments and international agencies.

 Ev-K2-Cnr Strumentazioni Progetto Share  Ev-K2-Cnr Consegna Centralina Meteo Progetto Share 

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Following is a list of the sites currently included in the SHARE network:

Installation site




(m a.s.l.)

Mt. Cimone

“Ottavio Vittori” Research Station:

Atmospheric monitoring station


Forni glacier

Automatic weather station
 Dosdè glacier
Automatic weather station
 Gigante glacier
Automatic weather station

Pyramid Laboratory Observatory (Lobuche)

Atmospheric monitoring station
GPS Master
GPS station
Automatic weather station
Orbitographic station

Pheriche (Khumbu Valley)

Automatic weather station

Namche Bazar (Sagarmatha National Park Head Quarter, Khumbu Valley)

Automatic weather station
Lukla (Khumbu Valley)
Automatic weather station

Kala Patthar (Khumbu Valley)

Automatic weather station
Mt. Everest, South Col
Automatic weather station
Urdukas (Baltoro glacier, Baltistan)
Automatic weather station
Askole (Baltistan, Pakistan)
Automatic weather station
Mt. Rwenzori (Elena Glacier)
Automatic weather station

All stations are functioning continuously, collecting data on various standard meteorological/climate parameters.  A multidisciplinary team of researchers elaborates the data for international publication and dissemination.

The Mt. Cimone station
is a GAW regional station which also performs measurements of greenhouse gases, trace gases, natural radioactivity, aerosol, bioaerosol (spores and pollens), total NO2 and O3, NO2, vertical profile solar photometry, cosmic radiation. 

The NCO-P laboratory also collects data on atmospheric parameters, with data transmitted via satellite to Italy in real time. This site is part of the UNEP Project ABC and the WMO GAW network

The stations in Nepal and Pakistan are Reference Stations in the CEOP project under the WMO's World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) - Global Energy and Water cycle Experiment (GEWEX) initiative.  Ev-K2-CNR recently founded a special interest group called "CEOP-High Elevations" (CEOP-HE), which is dedicated to understanding multi-scale variability and change in hydrological and energy cycles in high elevation regions and studying their role within the climate system on a local and global scale.

Annual glacial and lakes monitoring campaigns are also carried out within the SHARE framework.  Two lakes located near the Pyramid have been included in the ILTER program, an international network of sites representing various ecosystems.
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Project activities are organized in four main sectors:
1.    Scientific research
2.    System Technology
3.    Electronic Information System
4.    Capacity building

1. Scientific research
In order to study climate change in mountain ecosystems and better understand ongoing processes and phenomena, an integrated approach based on long-term observations is needed, along with appropriate climate modelling.  Elaboration of feasible mitigation strategies can only be based on such information.  

Thanks to the excellence and uniqueness of the data collected at its stations in Italy, Asia and Africa, SHARE has become an international point of reference.  Italy's contribution to integrated monitoring programs such as UNEP-ABC, WMO-GAW, WCRP-GEWEX-CEOP, NASA-AERONET, ILTER , EUSAAR, ACCENT has been made possible mainly because of SHARE.

Scientific research is performed within the SHARE framework to:
1.    analyze the influence of continental anthropogenic and natural processes, with particular attention on mountain regions
2.    study the interaction between mountain ranges and global atmospheric circulation
3.    characterize physical, chemical, optical properties of aerosol and their variations
4.    study seasonal variability of atmospheric pollutants and climate-altering compounds
5.    characterize wet deposition chemistry
6.    evaluate glacier energy and mass balance and consequent risks (Glacier Lake Outburst Flood - GLOF) and study debris-covered glaciers and the role of debris in ablative processes
7.    monitor surface variations of glaciers, rock glaciers and moraines
8.    set up hydro-geological models for analysis of risk factors
9.    study lacustrine trophic chains and biomass accumulation in response to natural or disturbance factors
10.    identify areas at risk of natural hazards through geodetic environmental monitoring 

 Ev-K2-Cnr Centralina Meteo Progetto Share  Ev-K2-Cnr Progetto Share Pannelli fotovoltaici in quota

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2. System Technology
One of the main reasons knowledge of climate and environmental processes is so limited in mountain areas is because of the objective difficulties of carrying out continuous high altitude measurements at high altitude, especially in developing countries.  Advanced technologies for climate change monitoring in high altitude areas are needed in order to better elaborate adaptation and mitigation strategies.  The application of technology in developing countries, when done in collaboration with local scientific institutions, can also contribute to bridging the digital divide.

A sophisticated technological system called 'Nano-SHARE' will be developed to facilitate installation and maintenance of monitoring stations in high altitude locations.  Nano-SHARE will be designed to function in extreme environmental conditions, taking into consideration the complex logistics often needed to transport scientific materials to remote, high altitude locations.  Known technical difficulties, such as problems related to power supply and the need for real-time data transmission will also be addressed.

This innovative, high-tech, integrated environmental and geophysical monitoring system will be modular and adaptable, making measurements possible where installation of a permanent laboratory or standard station would be too difficult or expensive.  The system will also use only renewable energy sources and ensure a low environmental impact.

3. Electronic Information System

Electronic information systems and databases that are accessible to governments and scientific research institutes facilitate the dissemination of knowledge, helping improve understanding of climate change phenomena and mitigation of the effects.  To date no such integrated, dedicated system exists regarding information on environmental monitoring in mountains, even in Europe where attention to environmental problems is high. 

An electronic information system dedicated to mountain environments will therefore be created within the SHARE framework
.  Data will be collected and organized in a synergic and integrated system, so that researchers can optimize their investments, harmonize their databases and improve collaboration.  The system will also be made accessible to concerned stakeholders, like governments, networks, consultants, scientific research institutions, policy-makers and anyone interested in sustainable development or the environment.

Ev-K2-Cnr Paolo Bonasoni Progetto Share  Ev-K2-Cnr Elisa Vuillermoz Progetto Share

4.    Capacity Building
The effects of climate change and the consequences of the unsustainable use of mountain resources must be taken into account on both policy and administrative levels.  The capacity to integrate such information in national and international development processes must however be strengthened.  Institutions and societies need to become even more engaged in addressing the threat of global change, moving beyond emission reduction policy to the adoption of structures and lifestyles adapted to the ongoing social and environmental changes.

SHARE will continue to support sustainable development of mountain regions and improve local environmental management systems by transferring technology and know-how in the fields of environmental and geophysical sciences.
Decision makers and local research institutions, particularly in developing countries and transitioning economies, benefit from capacity building efforts through which awareness-raising, training and technology transfer initiatives are carried out.  As indicated in Agenda 21, the scientific capacity of local technicians and researchers is also increased through direct participation in research activities and on the job training.

Ev-K2-Cnr Stazione AWS1 e Ceop Piramide Progetto Share  Ev-K2-Cnr Stazione Meteo in Piramide Progetto Share

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