Past Working Groups: Global Change

Fláajökul, Iceland © Zb.Zwolinski

WG Chair:

Prof. Olav Slaymaker

Vancouver (Canada)


Professor Christine Embleton-Hamann
Wien (Austria)



This WG was initiated at Zaragoza, Spain in 2005 under the chairmanship of Olav Slaymaker (UBC, Vancouver). The co-chair was Tom Spencer (University of Cambridge) and the Secretary General was Christine Embleton-Hamann (University of Vienna). The single task of this WG was to prepare a book which would provide an authoritative state-of-the-art statement on geomorphology and global environmental change.

The book contents are as follows:

  1. Landscape and landscape-scale processes as the unfilled niche in the global environmental change debate: an introduction by Slaymaker, Spencer and Dadson
  2. Mountains by Slaymaker and Embleton-Hamann
  3. Lakes and lake catchments by Kashiwaya, Slaymaker and Church
  4. Rivers by Church, Burt, Galay and Kondolf
  5. Estuaries, coastal marshes, tidal flats and coastal dunes by Reed, Davidson-Arnott and Perillo.
  6. Beaches, cliffs and deltas by Stive, Cowell and Nicholls
  7. Coral reefs by Kench, Perry and Spencer
  8. Tropical rainforests by Walsh and Blake
  9. Tropical savannas by Meadows and Thomas
  10. Deserts by Lancaster
  11. Mediterranean landscapes by Sala
  12. Temperate forests and rangelands by Sidle and Burt
  13. Tundra and permafrost-dominated taiga by André and Anisimov
  14. Ice sheets and ice caps by Sugden
  15. Landscape, landscape-scale processes and global environmental change: synthesis and new agendas for the twenty-first century by Spencer, Slaymaker and Embleton-Hamann.

The mechanism which was adopted was to invite 12 of the leading researchers in the field to prepare chapters and to recommend further that those authors invite one or more colleagues to join them in authoring a chapter. Two plenary meetings were hosted at the University of Cambridge (2006) and at Obergurgl (2007) generously hosted by Tom Spencer and Christine Embleton-Hamann respectively. The outcome was a book of 15 chapters written by 27 geoscientists from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, England, France, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, United States and Wales.

The book, entitled Geomorphology and Global Environmental Change, was published by Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York in 2009 and has 424 pages, 51 plates and 202 figures.

Andrew Goudie (University of Oxford and former President of the IAG), Colin Woodroffe (University of Wollongong), Colin Thorn (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and William Rees (Founding Fellow of the One Earth Initiative and inventor of the ‘ecological footprint’ idea) provided independent reviews of the book.

A follow-up paper session will be held at the EGU2010 in Vienna from May 2-7, 2010 and a number of other related initiatives are being planned




Professor Christine Embleton-Hamann
Institut fur Geographie und Regionalforschung der Universitat Wien, Universitatsstr. 7, A-1010 Wien, Austria, e-mail, Phone: +43-1-4277-48652, Fax: +43-1-4277-9531