Abstracts: CMOS Ottawa, 2011-2012

(in language given)

Atallah:  Blocking in the meteorological terms is when large-scale pressure patterns are nearly stationary for an extended period of time, usually persisting on the order of a few days to a few weeks. The importance of these features, often referred to as "blocking highs or anticyclones" is that they tend to "redirect" the path of migratory cyclones, leaving some areas with persistently wet weather, while other areas will be abnormally warm and dry. While atmospheric blocking has been most thoroughly studied during the cold season, the impacts during the warm season can be quite stark. For instance, the summer of 2010 was characterized by extreme heat and drought over portions of Russia as well as British Columbia as a consequence of atmospheric blocking.

This talk will first propose a new method for identifying blocks that is more generally applicable to all seasons, which identifies a climatological maximum of atmospheric blocking in the North Pacific during the Northern Hemisphere summer. This is particularly relevant as this can correspond to the fire season in Western Canada. Interestingly, this maximum in blocking occurs concomitantly with a climatological maximum in extratropical transition (the transformation of tropical cyclones into midlatitude cyclones) in the North Pacific. A physical mechanism for this relationship will be discussed, as well as the possible implications for predictability of these events on seasonal time scales.

Sauvé:  With the retreat of sea ice from the Arctic Ocean, Canada is rapidly recognizing that we are surrounded by three oceans, not two, and the refrain has become "from sea, to sea, to sea". This change is having important repercussions for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as it works to understand our northern responsibilities in terms of emerging fisheries, changing ecosystems, increasing industrial development and a changing maritime regime in terms of accessibility and safety. There are a number of international policy drivers that are becoming important in this context and Canada will have a leadership role to play as we assume the presidency of the Arctic Council in 2013.

Rosenberg:  The presentation will examine what we know already about emergent and re-emergent diseases in Canada in the context of climate and other social and economic changes taking place here. The talk will also cover various future scenarios Canadians might face and will consider whether governments at all levels are prepared to deal with these scenarios.

Beckwith:  Top level view of recent science on the Arctic will be discussed, including:
  • record sea-ice melt
  • enormous methane emissions
  • unprecedented ozone hole
  • record level of weather extremes in 2010, 2011 around planet
  • extreme teleconnection values for Arctic Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation

Ann Jackson is a local high school teacher who is passionate about weather education and her students. Hear about her experiences as the CMOS-sponsored Canadian participant in Project Atmosphere 2011, a two-week workshop for teachers held at the National Weather Service Training School and organized by the American Meteorological Society. Among other things, Ann will talk about:
  • Field trips, weather briefings, work sessions
  • Bringing weather education back to the Ontario classroom
  • Great resources provided to use in the classroom
Mueller:  This past summer, 85 square kilometres of Canada's ice shelves calved from Northern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. These thick, ancient cryospheric features have undergone periods of break-up over the past 100 years, but they now appear to be in rapid decline after having lost almost half their extent since 2005. Ice shelf calving has been attributed to warmer air temperatures and an increased prevalence of shore leads in July and August. These losses are occurring in concert with other indicators of Arctic environmental change and are essentially irreversible, given the current and projected climate. I will present the ice shelf calving events of 2011 and examine other cryospheric changes at the northern tip of Canada.

Angle:  On May 25, 2011, David Grimes, the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Meteorological Service of Canada was elected President of the WMO during the Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress. The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations Specialized Agency whose goal is to provide world leadership in weather, climate and water to contribute to the safety and well-being of people throughout the world and to the economic benefit of all nations.

David is the first Permanent Representative from our Region to be elected to this position. This successful conclusion to an 18-month campaign represents an opportunity for Canada to shape the world's agenda for research and services related to weather, climate and water and ensure the Government of Canada's priorities are represented. For example, Mr. Grimes has been a key proponent of ensuring Northern issues are at the fore. David Grimes is seen as an agent of change and has positioned the Organization to be more receptive to change.

This presentation will illustrate the path followed, the platform laid and a glimpse at uncharted waters. 

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URL: http://www.cmos.ca/ottawabstracts2011-12.html