Associate Professor; Associate Dean (Graduate Education) (on Sabbatic leave)
(cross-appointed to Geography Department)
T: 514-398-7935 | ian.strachan [at] mcgill.ca (Email) | Macdonald-Stewart Building, MS2-076 | Website
Ian Strachan received PhD (2000) and MSc degrees at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON) following an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto. He completed post-doctoral research with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa. He joined McGill in 2001 and became the Faculty’s first Associate Dean (Graduate Education) in 2012. He is past-President of the Canadian Society of Agricultural and Forest Meteorologists and served as a two-term member of the American Meteorological Society’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology.
Awards and Recognitions
- Macdonald Campus Award for Teaching Excellence
- Graham K. Walker Award - Excellence in agro/forest meteorology (awarded by the Canadian Society of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology)
Professor Strachan studies the mechanisms controlling the release and uptake of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) in a variety of ecosystems. He is especially interested in ecosystems which have been disturbed or are managed by human activity. He measures these gas exchanges at large spatial scales and continuously through time using fast-response environmental sensors.
The research in the Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) lab is focused on the environmental controls on trace gas exchange (e.g. CO2) between the atmosphere and ecosystems – especially those that have been modified or are managed through human activity. We conduct research at the ecosystem scale using eddy covariance flux towers to integrate measurements of trace gas exchange over space and through time.
- Carbon cycling in managed peatlands: in collaboration with Maria Strack (Waterloo University), Line Rochefort (Université Laval), Nigel Roulet (McGill) and the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association we are examining the resulting changes in peatland carbon cycling from drainage, extraction and restoration. Our current research involves sites that are actively undergoing peat extraction.
- Controls on CO2 and CH4 exchange in marsh wetlands: Marshes are dynamic systems with large carbon uptake over the warm season while simultaneously providing a potentially large conduit for methane to the atmosphere through tissues designed to oxygenate roots. We are studying the processes that control carbon fluxes within these systems in a wetland near Ottawa.
(Students' and Ian Strachan's names in bold)
Vidana Gamage, D.N., Vasava, H.B., Strachan, I.B., Adamchuk, V.I., Biswas, A., 2021. Comparison of heating strategies on soil water measurement using actively heated fiber optics on contrasting textured soils. Sensors 21(3): 1-18
Helbig, M., … Strachan, I.B., et al., 2020. Increasing contribution of peatlands to boreal evapotranspiration in a warming climate. Nature Climate Change 10: 555–560. doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0763-7
Helbig, M., … Strachan, I.B., et al., 2020. The biophysical climate mitigation potential of boreal peatlands during the growing season. Environmental Research Letters 15: 104004 doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abab34
Vidana Gamage, D.N., Biswas, A., and Strachan, I.B., 2020. Scale and location dependent time stability of soil water storage in a maize cropped field. Catena 188:104420 doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2019.104420
Nugent, K.A., Strachan, I.B., Strack, M., Roulet, N.T., Frolking, S. and Helbig, M., 2019. Prompt active restoration of peatlands substantially reduces radiative forcing. Environmental Research Letters 14: 124030 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab56e6
Vidana Gamage, D.N., Biswas, A., and Strachan, I.B., 2019. Spatial variability of soil thermal properties and their relationships with physical properties at field scale. Soil & Tillage Research 193: 50-58. doi:10.1016/j.still.2019.05.0
Pelster, D.E., Watt, D., Strachan, I.B., Rochette, P., Bertrand, N. and Chantigny, M., 2019. Effects of initial soil moisture, clod size and clay content on ammonia volatilization after sub-surface band application of urea. Journal of Environmental Quality 48(3): 549-558. doi:10.2134/jeq2018.09.0344
O’Brien, G.A., Ross, N.A., and Strachan, I.B., 2019. The heat penalty of walkable neighbourhoods. International Journal of Biometeorology doi:10.1007/s00484-018-01663-0
Vidana Gamage, D.N., Biswas, A., and Strachan, I.B., 2019. Field water balance closure with actively heated fiber optics and point-based sensors. Water 11, 135. doi:10.3390/w11010135
Nugent, K.A., Strachan, I.B., Strack, M., Roulet, N.T. and Rochefort, L., 2018. Multi-year net ecosystem carbon balance of a restored peatland reveals a return to carbon sink. Global Change Biol. 24(12): 5751-5768. doi:10.1111/gcb.14449
Vidana Gamage, D.N., Biswas, A., and Strachan, I.B., 2018. Actively heated fiber optic technique to monitor three-dimensional wetting patterns under drip irrigation. Agricultural Water Management 210: 243-251
Rankin, T., Strachan, I.B. and Strack, M., 2018. Carbon dioxide and methane exchange at a post-extraction, unrestored peatland. Ecological Engineering 122: 241-251. doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2018.06.021
Vidana Gamage, D.N., Biswas, A., Strachan, I.B. and Adamchuk, V.I., 2018. Soil water measurement using actively heated fiber optics at field scale. Sensors 18(4) 1116. doi:10.3390/s18041116
Wang, W., Roulet, N.T., Kim, Y., Strachan, I.B., del Georgio, P. Prairie, Y., and Tremblay, A., 2018. Modelling CO2 emissions from water surface of a boreal hydroelectric reservoir. Science of the Total Environment 612: 392-404. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.203
Irambona, C., Music, B., Nadeau, D.F., Mahdi, T.F., and Strachan, I.B., 2018. Impacts of boreal hydroelectric reservoirs on seasonal climate and precipitation recycling as simulated by the CRCM5: a case study of the La Grande river watershed, Canada. Theoretical and Applied Climatology 131(3-4): 1529-1544. doi:10.1007/s00704-016-2010-8