Abstracts: CMOS Ottawa, 2012-2013

(in language given)

Taillefer & McMillan:  At the 2012 CMOS Congress, Marty Taillefer proposed that CMOS become more engaged in rapidly emerging Arctic issues. Following this discussion, in the fall, Marty, David Fissel, and Ann McMillan put together a draft Terms of Reference for a CMOS Special Interest Group as described under the CMOS Bylaws. The proposal went through the National Council and was approved.

Attracting membership in the Arctic SIG was an important part of getting the SIG approved. By sending e-mail to interested people, the Arctic SIG membership list quickly grew to about 75 people representing government, academia and the private sector. It was clear that the concept was popular and that many CMOS Members saw the need for such an activity within the Society, but it was less clear exactly how the Arctic SIG should proceed to develop a workplan and take on some of the many obvious challenges. There have been a number of Ottawa Centre lunch speakers who have addressed the North in their talks over the last year. the melting ice and opening water present many challenges and opportunities in the meteorological and oceanographic sector.

As a first step, it was decided to use the 2013 CMOS Congress as a way of bootstrapping the activity. A "stream" of Arctic presentation has been organized with 21 papers on Arctic topics to be presented. Beyond this, a half day session is planned on 26 May, 2013 in Saskatoon to convene members and other interested people to discuss next steps. The objective is to arrive at a manageable number of projects to be accomplished over the following months as well as to identify members who have specific Arctic interests and who are willing to lead activities on behalf of the Arctic SIG.

It is recognized that many Ottawa Centre CMOS members will not be able to attend the meeting in Saskatoon. For this reason, Marty and Ann will provide a short presentation followed by a discussion on 16 May, 2013 at the CMOS Lunch. Please come along and bring your expertise and ideas for next steps for the Arctic SIG.

McElroy:  From the deployment of a Canadian ozone monitoring system during the International Geophysical Year in 1957, through the signing of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the development of the Montreal Protocol 25 years ago, and up to the present, Canada has played a leading role in the measurement of ozone. The speaker has been intimately involved in study of ozone since 1970, and will share his viewpoint on the contribution Canadian science has made to ozone science globally.

Bruce:  Climate change is having a significant impact on Canada's waters. Evidence to date indicates declining flows and levels on average in most lakes, and rivers in southern Canada. Paradoxically, flash floods in small basins with heavy rain events are on the increase, and floods in mid country rivers have been more frequent for reasons that will be discussed. Water quality and lake ecosystems are also being degraded, e. g. Lakes Erie and Winnipeg. In part due to climate related phenomena. Frozen water (ice) is melting in glaciers, on lakes, in the Arctic, and in soil (permafrost) with major consequences. These trends are harbingers of increasingly difficult problems in coming decades unless strong global greenhouse gas emission reductions and effective Canadian water adaptations can be launched.

St. Coeur:  The Meteorological Service of Canada's (MSC) warning system for high-impact weather is being systematically modernized as one of the MSC's priority signature projects. Every step of the system for issuing alerts - from science and monitoring to production, dissemination, and verification - will be affected by the changes. The changes will take several years to implement. The Warning Re-engineering Project will improve the quality and reach of weather alerts as well as provide better decision-making advice and support to users. Its goal is to quickly and clearly convey the potential impacts of approaching severe weather so people can assess the situation and take steps to reduce risks. The multi-pronged project will involve increased collaboration with public authorities who have expertise in dealing with the impacts of hazardous weather, such as flooding, snow clearance, and traffic, as well as with emergency responders, media, and others. Over the next five years the Warning Re-engineering Project will focus on improving verification and assessment, ensuring that the system is flexible and adaptable to new technologies, increasing channels and products in order to increase outreach, and ensuring alignment with another signature project aimed at revitalizing the forecast production infrastructure.

Gilbert:  The oceans play many roles in the climate system of our planet, whose area is 71% covered by them. To date, the oceans have stored about 90% of the additional heat due to increased greenhouse gas emissions linked to human activities. Due to their large thermal inertia, the oceans tend to warm and cool more slowly than the atmosphere when climate disruptions occur. An important fraction of the warming due to greenhouse gas emissions thus remains to come, because several centuries are required before a new thermal equilibrium can be reached between the ocean and atmosphere. A second crucial role played by oceans in the climate system has to do with carbon dioxide absorption. Unfortunately, this carbon sink service performed by the oceans causes a progressive acidification of oceans that could harm some life forms whose exoskeleton is mainly composed of calcareous materials. Ocean deoxygenation and possible impacts on the nitrogen cycle will also be discussed.

Kilpatrick:  The Department of Fisheries and Oceans owns and maintains a large national system of commercial fishing harbours to provide fish harvesters and other harbour users with safe and accessible facilities. At DFO, the Small Craft Harbours (SCH) Program is responsible for keeping these harbours, which are critical to the fishing industry, open and in good repair. Since the majority of these facilities are located in coastal regions, they are particularly vulnerable to potential climate change effects such as rising sea levels and storm surges. This presentation will provide an overview of the work that is being done in the SCH program to evaluate and address potential climate change effects on marine and coastal infrastructure.

Carmack:  This talk will review the Arctic Ocean's place in the global climate system, highlight changes we are seeing in the physical world of ocean currents and sea ice cover, and then explore what such changes - as components of a coupled system - will mean in terms of marine life and ecosystems, invasive species, ocean acidification and challenges to governance. Changes in the physical system actually observed over recent years have far out-paced the most pessimistic of model predictions used in the 4th IPCC report of 2007. An 'early warning system' grounded in observations carried out by Northern residents is suggested.

Comfort:  The speaker has made ice load measurements at 11 sites over the past 20 years, in total 29 "dam-winters", and has led a project to develop a method for predicting ice loads on dams and their associated return periods. The talk will start with a discussion of the motivation for conducting the work. Next, the mechanisms that generate ice loads at dams and the controlling factors will be discussed, followed by a synopsis of the scope of the work including the measurement methods used. Finally, the main findings of the work will be summarized.

Zagon:  Knowledge of the fate of the lost vessels HMS Erebus and HMS Terror is based on archaeological evidence and Inuit testimony. Historical satellite imagery of ice conditions in the region where the vessels became beset and were abandoned presents an additional source of information. Since 1995, high-resolution Radarsat imagery is being archived at the Canadian Ice Service and an ice study based on these images is helping to shape the search effort presently under way.

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