Building a more sustainable tomorrow

Bruno Tremblay
Professor Bruno Tremblay at work on the Canadian Arctic archipelago.

Climate change is one of the most significant threats facing the world today. As glaciers continue to melt at a historic pace and Canada’s arctic waters become increasingly accessible for shipping, the onus is on McGill researchers like Bruno Tremblay, BEng’87, PhD’97, of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences to unravel the effects of global warming.

Dr. Tremblay is involved in a long-term effort to understand ice movement by tracking ice thickness, compression and temperature using buoys. Data from the Canadian Arctic Ice Buoy Program can be used to model the future state of arctic waters, but the costly trips to maintain the buoys would make the research impossible without the support of Ferring Pharmaceuticals. Part of its $1-million support for McGill research went to the Arctic Research Program Support Fund.

“It will make a big difference to our ability to monitor sea ice and its inter-annual variability,” says Dr. Tremblay, “and ultimately to our abilities to model the future of the Canadian archipelago.”

Doing its share to support environmental sustainability, Hydro-Québec has pitched in with a commitment of $10 million that will go in part toward renewable energy science in the form of three research chairs. Two of the chairs will focus on how to better integrate wind and solar power generation into electrical grids, while the third is concerned with forecasting extreme weather events such as ice storms and floods over the short term.

“The chairs build on a natural synergy,” says Thierry Vandal, Hydro-Québec president and CEO. “We are strong proponents of ecologically sound options for power generation, and McGill is a leader in the fields of renewable energy and climate change.”

The McGill School of Environment (MSE) has also received a major boost with the creation of the Liber Ero Chair in Environment, funded through a $1.5-million gift from Richard Bradshaw, BCom’61, and Val Bradshaw, BA’61.

The new chair will attract a world-class scholar with experience in both the social and natural sciences to conduct research on the environmental challenges facing Canada and the world.

“Being able to create a completely new position in today’s economic climate is truly exceptional,” says Professor Marilyn Scott, PhD’80, MSE’s Director. “We are indeed grateful for the Bradshaws’ generosity, which will have a transformative impact on our research, education, and outreach missions.”