Abstracts: CMOS Ottawa, 2009-2010

(in language given)

Stone:  An objective assessment of the current state of play on climate change would suggest that the prospects for adequately tackling this issue are not encouraging. There are at least three recent developments - what in baseball terms might be called "strikes" - that have significantly set back progress, and this at a time when the science suggests that we are running out of time.

The first is what the media have termed "ClimateGate", the illegal hacking and posting on the Internet of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. This suggests improper actions by some scientists. This has been compounded by more recent attacks on the climate science and on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The second is the United Nations climate meeting in Copenhagen just before Christmas 2009. It not only failed to achieve agreement on a global legally binding instrument to address climate change but, also left the whole process deeply damaged.

The final "strike" is the declining possibility that we will see any climate change legislation coming out of Washington in the next few years.

As disturbing as these developments are, they offer, if honestly recognized and properly examined, learning opportunities that might lead to a more robust and constructive set of scientific and policy-making institutions. This talk will attempt this analysis and offer some conclusions.

Drummond:  Canada has a significant portion of its territory in the Arctic. This region has a significantly different climate from the rest of Canada and can often seem to be a different planet - but without the attendant travel restrictions. More practically, it is a fragile region and changes there are liable to have a significant impact, both within the Arctic and further south.

The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) is a full-time atmospheric research laboratory in Canada's High Arctic. Perched on the 80N latitude line on the West shore of Ellesmere Island, it offers a unique location to study the atmosphere on a broad basis. It is home to over 27 instruments to study the dynamics and composition of the atmosphere from close to the ground to about 100km altitude. This wide range of instrumentation enables a holistic study of the atmosphere including ozone chemistry, air quality and climate.

Conducting research in an environment far from a research laboratory, Tim Hortons and Canadian Tire, in continuous extreme cold, where there are significant periods of total darkness and 24-hour sunlight provides some unique challenges and requires some unique solutions. To continue the space analogy, doing research at PEARL is somewhat similar to working on a space station. Nevertheless there is no other place on Earth where these atmospheric measurements can be made.

This talk will discuss PEARL and the research performed there and how they fit into an integrated study of the entire globe. We will also discuss some of the challenges of PEARL and the opportunities to perform research at this unique location.

PEARL is operated by the Canadian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change (CANDAC) - a group of university and government scientists who have come together to conduct research in the High Arctic. CANDAC/PEARL funding partners are: the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund, Atlantic Innovation Fund/Nova Scotia Research Innovation Trust, Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science, Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Space Agency, Environment Canada, Government of Canada International Polar Year, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Ontario Innovation Trust, Ontario Research Fund, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and the Polar Continental Shelf Program.

Adlakha:  Polar View offers integrated monitoring and forecasting services in the Polar Regions, as well as mid-latitude areas affected by ice and snow. Polar View utilizes satellite earth observation data from multiple satellites, in combination with ground truth and numerous sophisticated models and automatic tools, to deliver products that accurately illustrate the characteristics of the ice and snow on any given day. More specifically, Polar View services take the form of enhanced sea ice information (charts and forecasts) as well as ice-edge and iceberg monitoring data. Polar View also provides monitoring services for lake and river ice, snow cover maps and glacier monitoring and assessment. Many services are delivered in near real time and are readily accessible via the Internet. These services support safe and cost-effective marine operations, improved resource management, sustainable economic growth and risk protection.

The talk will describe the international network of collaborators and freely available information products that are delivered by Polar View.

Jones:  The major Canadian disasters from the 1500s to date are identified by cause and type. General disaster criteria are defined. Twenty or more deaths occurring at one time is the primary criterion. The other principal criterion is to include events which have occurred within Canada, and Newfoundland before 1949, and offshore inside the 200-mile economic zone. Events such as wars, epidemics and battles between natives and European settlers during colonization have been excluded. These criteria limit the events which are discussed to a manageable number.

The results of an expanded literature search are presented and a brief description of some of the disasters is given. The weather-related factor is determined. An historical perspective is discussed with a view to illustrating the disasters which were common in early Canadian history, and those which have occurred in modern times. Conclusions are drawn as to which types of natural and man-made disasters are likely to occur in Canada in the future.

In the 18 years since original publication, the database has more than doubled in size from 95 events in 1990 to 218. The updated version of the paper is published on the World Wide Web at: http://web.ncf.ca/jonesb/DisasterPaper/disasterpaper.html

Bourque:  Weather and health have been linked since the time of Hippocrates, more than 2,000 years ago. Yet, despite the large body of evidence put forward by individuals for centuries, skepticism in the health community about the relationship has always tended to be strong, with the concepts being relegated to folklore and old wives’ tales.

The advent, in the past 10-20 years, of advanced epidemiological techniques has changed that: more and more research studying the weather’s impact on health is now being successfully carried out. The results of these efforts are now being applied in practical ways to help sufferers of weather-related ailments improve their quality of life.

Brklacich:  Drawing links between security and the environment in general, and climate specifically, has become quite common in many venues including the popular press and scholarly journals. Attention has increasingly been drawn to climate change as an issue of peace and security (e. g., through debates, reports, and the awarding of Nobel Peace Prizes for work related to the environment). While some have welcomed deliberation on the issues, others have not explicitly addressed security, which has resulted in interpretation through a variety of security lenses. This presentation explores the various meanings of security (national, environmental and human) as well as the implications of different types of security for climate-related research and policy.

Green:  In 1994, the speaker made his first expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. He was profoundly inspired by these cornerstones of our global ecosystem, and has since led more than 100 expeditions to both the Polar Regions, taking with him thousands of students, scientists, educators and leaders from around the world.

The presentation will take the audience on an amazing journey from Pole to Pole, sharing stories, insights and observations of "the greatest classrooms on Earth". Together with student alumni from over 40 countries, he has developed the concept of a 21st century "Generation G" embracing values that are Global, Generous, Grateful and Green to help guide the way we interact with Nature and each other.

Taillefer_McMillan:  In operational oceanography, there exists a well defined logic cycle that allows the activity of a task to be conceived, developed, and analysed to understand and predict local, regional and global oceanic events. This direct application of ocean data analysis should allow decision makers to take a policy direction, adapt or mitigate changes that may affect our socio- economic fabric. However, policy direction and decision-making have a tough challenge in the North as sea ice continues to melt. DFO is faced with providing data for many more days and many more kilometres of open water in the Arctic Ocean than ever before. It is clear that the density of observations used to provide scientific advice in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans is not available, nor can it be developed within a reasonable resource profile. Therefore, a rethinking of what constitutes operational oceanography, with a view to providing minimal support to Arctic Ocean ventures, offers an opportunity to refine the concept of operational oceanography and to update our vision of what can be provided using the latest technologies and space-based approaches.
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