CIRM Seminar | Meteorology and Climate Change in the St. Lawrence Valley: Past and Current Observations.



This virtual seminar will explore questions of climatic history and meteorological data conservation, in light of the citizen science project DRAW (Data Rescues : Archives & Weather) and the book "Climate in the Age of Empire: Recording, Analyzing, and Rescuing Three Centuries of Saint-Laurence Valley Weather Data", (Chicago UP), written by Victoria C. Slonosky (McGill U. / DRAW Project).

This roundtable will bring together a panel of experts in geography, history, and environmental engineering to generate an in-depth reflection on scientific data rescue and citizen involvement in participatory research.


  • Frédéric Fabry (Professor - Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University)



  • Philippe Gachon (Full Professor - Department of Geography, Université du Québec à Montréal)
  • Ali Nazemi (Assistant Professor - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Concordia University)
  • Dustin Valen (SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow - Department of History, Concordia University; Lecturer - Peter Guohua School of Architecture, McGill University)


Where: CIRM will welcome you to its brand new Espace Montréal in a virtual mode via the Zoom platform.

When: Thursday, September 24th from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

This discussion will be held both in French and in English and registration is mandatory. A link will be sent to you by email, 24 hours before the event. 



Book summary (UP Chicago):

Despite the recent increase in efforts to understand climate change, climate observers have been studying weather fluctuations for over three centuries. In offering a glimpse into this observational work, Victoria C. Slonosky demonstrates how Canada's climate observers, trained in the scientific tradition of their European ancestors, have built a scientific community and amassed a detailed body of knowledge about the Canadian climate and its observations. The documents left by the first French and English observers, from King Jean-François Gaultier's physician in 1742 to the founder of the McGill Observatory Charles Smallwood, reveal the immense effort to collect weather and climate data in Canada over the past three centuries. Accessing the weather journal excerpts presented in this book allows us to better understand the attitude and effort of colonial governments towards the environment.

What is the DRAW project?

Through volunteer citizen participation, the DRAW Project retrieves and digitizes weather observations collected by the McGill Observatory to make them useful for today's research. Led by Dr. Victoria C. Slonosky (McGill / CIRM), the DRAW team has now completed more than 300, 000 transcriptions, thus helping scientists and historians to better understand the Canadian environment and its impact on cities and people. For more information, please visit their website.

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