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CFCAS and McGill announce new air quality and climate change research

Published: 26 Aug 2008

Research part of efforts to help Canada mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change

Research part of efforts to help Canada mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change

McGill University is pleased to announce $526,000 in funding from The Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) to support two groundbreaking research projects that will advance Canada’s science and technology objectives while helping prepare for the effects of climate change.

The two projects address the effects of climate change in different ways. Prof. Hai Lin, Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, will lead a project that seeks to improve Canada’s medium and extended range weather forecasting capability. The outcome of this work will improve forecasting for extreme weather events that have far-reaching social and economic effects. The second project, led by Prof. Irene Gregory-Eaves, Dept. of Biology, will not only provide estimates of the fate of Arctic permafrost during the next century, but will also assess the performance of climate models. From this research, we will gain a better understanding of permafrost, which will be vital when it comes to policy development regarding mitigation and adaptation to the effects of climate change. This will also allow for improved forecasting of future permafrost distribution, enabling researchers to improve existing infrastructure and engineering design of such projects as northern pipelines and other installations that will become increasingly important as the Arctic opens up.

“These projects are a perfect fit for the goal of this competition, which focuses on research that will give decision-makers the scientific tools they need to face future challenges,” said Gordon McBean, Chair of CFCAS. “This is the sort of information that must be built into sound public policy, innovation and strategic development, moving us forward into an era of mitigation and adaptation to climate change and associated factors.”

"Good science is crucial to the development of informed, effective public policy," said Denis Thérien, Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) at McGill University. "Investment in the work of our highly-skilled researchers, like this funding from CFCAS, is Canada's best hope for addressing important issues such as climate change and air quality."

This funding is part of the $5.5 million recently awarded by CFCAS to promote research across Canada on increasing knowledge and training in air quality, extreme weather, climate sciences or marine environmental prediction. The competition focused on research that could guide environmental policy or adaptation strategies. Funds were awarded to research on air quality, northern science, weather prediction and forecasting, or climate change and water resources. Multidisciplinary collaborative research is encouraged, as well as partnerships with researchers in the health or social sciences as appropriate.

This is the Foundation’s seventh and final competition under its current mandate and is funded entirely by interest revenues of CFCAS investments. CFCAS has invested more than $115 million across Canada over the past eight years to support a suite of research projects.

McGill, Canada’s leading university, has two campuses, 11 faculties, 10 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 33,000 students. Since 2000, more than 800 professors have been recruited to McGill to share their energy, ideas and cutting-edge research. McGill attracts students from 160 countries around the world. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English – including 6,000 francophones – with more than 6,200 international students making up almost 20 per cent of the student body.

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