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Twenty Four Proposals Invited for Climate Change and Atmospheric Research Initiative

August 10, 2012 – Earlier this year, researchers were invited to submit letters of intent (LOIs) for the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research initiative (CCAR), an initiative that capitalizes on Canada's world-class research capacity in key areas of climate and atmospheric research and innovation. Grants to be awarded will be from $500,000 to $1 million and for up to five years. Of the 58 LOIs received, NSERC invited 24 applicants to submit full applications by the October 1 deadline. In an effort to encourage collaboration between research teams and promote awareness of this research initiative, information about the teams invited to submit full applications is provided below.

Projects to be funded must address major challenges in three theme areas:

  1. Earth system processes and their representation in models;
  2. Earth system prediction through improved forecasting methodologies; and
  3. Understanding recent changes in the Arctic and other Canadian cold region environments.
CCAR Finalists
Project Research Team Supporting Federal Departments Description
Network on Climate and Aerosols (NETCARE): Addressing Key Uncertainties in Remote Canadian Environments Jonathan Abbatt, University of Toronto (Principal Applicant), and 30 others. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada NETCARE (NETwork on Climate and Aerosols: Addressing Key Uncertainties in Remote Canadian Environments) will comprehensively study the sources, sinks and climatic impacts of atmospheric aerosol particles in remote Canadian environments. Major uncertainties in aerosol-climate impact assessments will be addressed by multidisciplinary measurement and modelling studies of interacting components of the Earth system.
Reducing and Quantifying Predictive Uncertainty in Water Cycle and Environmental Prediction Problems François Anctil, Université Laval (Principal Applicant), and 13 others. Environment Canada This project addresses the challenges associated with the reduction and quantification of predictive uncertainty in the management of our water resources through a complete vertical chain of models and techniques. These include a regional meteorological ensemble prediction system, the configuration of a land surface scheme, a sound hydrological ensemble prediction system, and a water resources management tool.
Research Related to the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL): Probing the Atmosphere of the High Arctic James Drummond, Dalhousie University (Principal Applicant), and 19 others. Canadian Space Agency and Environment Canada The Arctic atmosphere is changing quickly. PEARL provides a unique Canadian data source to study these changes and to assess their impact on the Arctic, Canada and the entire planet.
Impacts of Changes in Soil Active Layers on Freshwater Chemistry in the Arctic and Subarctic Michael English, Wilfred Laurier University (Principal Applicant), and 7 others. Environment Canada The goal of our proposed research is to understand the processes that link permafrost melt with physical, biological and chemical changes to the seasonal thaw layer in soils, terrestrial runoff and surface water quality at several sites across Canada’s arctic and subarctic ecozones, which are currently experiencing amplified climatic changes relative to more southerly regions in Canada. Understanding the linkages among these important processes is fundamental in determining the extent and rapidity of change and developing predictive models for socioeconomic adaptation strategies for northern communities to manage their essential freshwater and other natural resources.
Improving Predictions of Fire Weather-Climate Interactions and the Role of Fire in Earth-Atmosphere Dynamics Mike Flannigan, University of Alberta (Principal Applicant), and 11 others. Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada This project will examine the role of wildland fire in the climate system and incorporate these findings into climate models. We will use these improved models to enhance weekly, monthly and seasonal fire danger forecasts to better protect Canadians and their communities.
The Canadian Arctic Geotraces Program: Biogeochemical and Tracer Study of a Rapidly Changing Arctic Ocean Roger Francois, University of British Columbia (Principal Applicant), and 21 others. Fisheries and Oceans Canada The Canadian GEOTRACES project will provide fundamental new information on the distribution of chemical elements occurring at very low concentration in seawater (called “trace elements”) that can regulate biological and geochemical cycles in the Arctic Ocean (e.g. primary productivity, trace gas emissions) and/or serve as tracers of key oceanographic processes (e.g. carbon sequestration, deep ocean circulation). Establishing the addition, removal and cycling of these trace elements in the Arctic Ocean will provide a mechanistic understanding of multiple biogeochemical and physical processes affecting the Arctic environment and their sensitivity to climate change and future human activities.
Observing and Modelling the Earth System: Application to Polar Regions Pierre Gauthier, Université du Québec à Montréal (Principal Applicant), and 15 others. Canadian Space Agency and Environment Canada Numerical model results can and must be reconciled with the large volume of available observations, particularly satellite data. To this end, this project will contribute to the development and validation of a coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice model with its own data assimilation system. This close collaboration with research scientists from Environment Canada will improve the quality of forecasts, allow for regional analyses to be obtained over the Arctic, and contribute to the assessment of socio-economic impacts on the southern regions of weather events originating from the north.
Tropical Cyclones: Understanding and Predicting Their Formation, Evolution and Impact on Canadian Weather and Climate John Gyakum, McGill University (Principal Applicant), and 17 others. Environment Canada Tropical cyclones moving into mid-latitudes regularly transition into storms that produce extreme winds and rain over eastern Canada—they also impact our climate by influencing atmospheric energetics and the hydrological cycle. The research we propose will improve understanding and prediction of these storms and their impact on Canada.
Chemistry-Climate Impacts on the Stratosphere and Troposphere (C-CIST) Dylan Jones, University of Toronto (Principal Applicant), and 8 others. Canadian Space Agency and Environment Canada The proposed network will use the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM) to produce an improved understanding of the coupling between climate and atmospheric chemistry, and the impact of this coupling on the composition of the stratosphere and troposphere. In particular, the network will enhance the modelling capability at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma) by producing
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