Abstracts - CMOS Ottawa, 2006-2007

(in language given)
Crabbé:  The talk will survey and critique several recent international and Canadian economic studies dealing with climate change and point out remaining uncertainties.

Denman: Dr. Denman will briefly describe the IPCC Assessment process and then illustrate the key findings presented in the Working Group 1 Summary for Policymakers released in Paris on 2 February 2007. Referring primarily to the chapter he coordinated on biogeochemical feedbacks to climate change, and the chapter on changes in the ocean, Dr. Denman will present several of the critical scientific issues arising from AR4 that need to be addressed over the next five years. Finally, he will comment on how the 20-year old concept of 'sustainability' and the related 'precautionary principle' are shifting how we assess potential impacts of human activities on our natural environment.

Wellar: Weather-related issues are of increasing public interest but much more effort is needed to close the gap between the perception of weather as science and of weather as common sense. In 2006 the Canadian Association of Geographers played a lead role in international Geography Awareness Week (GAW) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day. A key theme for 2007 is to demonstrate to Canadians throughout the country how geography affects the formation of weather systems; how weather systems are affected by geography; and how geography and weather systems combine to affect transportation systems, emergency services, water quality, energy supplies and consumption, public safety, garbage disposal, economic activity - even the quality of air that we breathe.

Stewart: Drought is a huge societal issue since it typically leads to catastrophic consequences. It is also a major scientific challenge since it results from many atmospheric, surface, and sub-surface processes operating over a wide variety of scales. Drought has mainly been studied from the point of view of its large scale driving factors and from its impacts. While such areas are crucial, so are small scale issues that ultimately control the flow of water into and through a region and thereby significantly affect the structure, intensity and evolution of drought. With a special although not exclusive focus on drought over the Canadian Prairies, this presentation discusses our scientific understanding of drought as well as some of the outstanding scientific issues that need to be overcome if we are to reliably anticipate drought in order to cope with it.

Kuszel/Nadeau: Janet Nadeau, science teacher at Gloucester High School, and Samantha Kuszel, Grade 11 Student at Brookfield High School, will speak of their Arctic experience aboard the Canadian Research Icebreaker, the Amundsen. Janet and Samantha were among the three teachers and eight students chosen in Canada to participate in a unique research expedition from Iqaluit, down along the Labrador Coast, through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and then on to Quebec City.
    They will describe what they learned about Climate Change in the Arctic and how they can help make a difference. This experience was offered through the Schools on Board Programme, an outreach programme of ArcticNet, operated through the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Manitoba, and was supported in part by the CMOS Ottawa Centre.

Davidson: If land rose and fell with the wind and shifted around daily, one might hesitate to go to work in the morning. However fishermen, sailors, oil explorers, search and rescue specialists, and other seafarers must cope daily with a highly changeable ocean. An emerging field in oceanography is now the prediction of the state of the ocean from hours, to days, to weeks to decades. The better we understand the ocean, the more we will be able to predict its motion, its temperature, its ice cover and its behavior. This is welcome news for those who work at sea, for biologists wanting to relate the ocean's physical environment to biological observations and to meteorologists forever seeking to improve their weather forecasts. Interestingly enough, in order to forecast the future of the ocean, we need to test our ocean models and forecasting systems on well-observed passed events. Every ocean forecasting system requires careful validation through hindcasts and historical data validation. This talk describes the emerging field of operational oceanography. We describe the differences between atmospheric weather forecasting and ocean weather forecasting and the challenges of the latter. The multidisciplinary and team nature of operational oceanography is described along with the variety of applications from Global to Regional systems. An overview of the present vision for Canada's operational ocean forecasting capability is given as well as the latest results in ocean forecasting initiatives.

Burn: Mean annual air temperatures in Canada's western Arctic have increased since 1970 by about 2.5C. The warming is a regional phenomenon, experienced throughout the Mackenzie Valley and in the Yukon. The impact of such warming is evident in the thermal regime of permafrost, and in the closure date for the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk winter road. The location of shrub line, the precursor of tree line, has moved north during this period, assisted by the wild fire that burned near Inuvik in 1968.
    The impacts of climate change on human activity are more evident in the western Arctic than in many other parts of the country. The most significant single impact in financial terms has probably been the shortening of the season for the ice road serving the diamond mines of the Slave Province. The impact of climate change on the potential construction season for the Mackenzie Gas Project is a consideration in the environmental hearings and may influence the overall economics of the project, particularly for mobilization of specialized equipment, such as for drilling river crossings. There are various other aspects of this project which are sensitive to climate change considerations due to its impact on permafrost and river regimes.

Bush: The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a dominant mode of temporal variability in the coupled atmosphere-ocean system. It induces global temperature and precipitation anomalies that affect global food production, disease spread, and wildfire activity. Although the coupled dynamics underlying ENSO are relatively well understood, there have been observed changes in ENSO frequency and amplitude over the Earth's recent past that remain unexplained yet are crucial to long-term predictions of ENSO in any global change scenario.
    A sequence of numerical simulations are performed with a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model configured for various times in Earth's recent past in order to better understand the dynamic factors that control ENSO period and intensity. The dynamic and thermodynamic mechanisms that regulate tropical trade wind speed are discussed with an emphasis on how these mechanisms were likely different in the Earth's past. Finally, we discuss the numerical results in the context of observational data and of the numerical methods that are used to solve the dynamic and thermodynamic equations.
Return to: / Retour au :
Ottawa Centre Past Speakers / Centre d'Ottawa Conférenciers passés


URL: http://www.cmos.ca/ottawabstracts2006-7.html