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:
|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 an improved version of CMAM with a better description of tropospheric chemistry. It will also exploit remote sensing data to improve the representation of climate processes in CMAM and provide satellite mission support to ensure continuity in the monitoring and observation of climate drivers.|
|Convective Clouds and Their Impact on the Climate System||Boualem Khouider, University of Victoria (Principal Applicant), and 18 others.||Environment Canada||Weather forecasts on timescales of a few weeks to months are compromised by the inability of operational climate models to adequately represent the rainfall variability and large scale circulation patterns associated with convective clouds in the tropics and mid-latitudes. The network will bring together experts from both Canadian institutions and abroad to build on recent progress in observations, numerical simulations and theoretical models of convective clouds to address these efficiencies and improve our understanding of the interactions between clouds and the climate system.
|Canadian Sea Ice and Snow Evolution: The CanSISE Network||Paul Kushner, University of Toronto (Principal Applicant), and 19 others.||Environment Canada||The Canadian Sea Ice and Snow Evolution (CanSISE) Network is a collaborative partnership between researchers from Canadian universities and Environment Canada. The CanSISE Network will seek to advance seasonal to multidecadal prediction of seasonal snow and sea ice in the pan-Arctic and in Canada’s sub-Arctic, alpine, and seasonally snow covered regions. It will also quantify and exploit, for prediction purposes, the role that Northern Hemisphere snow and sea ice processes play in climate variability and change.|
|Satellite Composition Data: Towards Improvements in Climate, Weather and Air Quality Forecasting in the Next Decade||John McConnell, York University (Principal Applicant), and 22 others.||Canadian Space Agency and Environment Canada||The use of satellite data combined with increases in computing power will lead to important improvements in short- and medium-range weather forecasting, air quality forecasting and quantification of greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. This project aims to ensure that the Canadian science community develops the retrieval and modelling capacity to make full use of the forthcoming satellite data sets.|
|Sources of Methane and Ice Decline: Atmospheric Studies (SOME-IDEAS)||Robert McLaren, York University (Principal Applicant), and 21 others.||Environment Canada||The goal of this research is to quantify sources of atmospheric methane, as well as ice decline, in regions of northern Canada through ground-based and airborne field studies. We will characterize several natural and anthropogenic sources of methane whose global source strength and future projection are highly uncertain.|
|Observational Constraints on Carbon Exchange at Regional and Local Scales (OCCERLS)||Jennifer Murphy, University of Toronto (Principal Applicant), and 15 others.||Environment Canada||Observational Constraints on Carbon Exchange at Regional and Local Scales (OCCERLS) will establish a greenhouse gas observing and budgeting network in Canada by integrating satellite remote sensing data, ground monitors, inverse chemical transport and ecosystem models and data assimilation techniques. It will help to independently quantify anthropogenic and biospheric carbon dioxide and methane fluxes at regional and local scales.|
|Ventilation, Interactions and Transports Across the Labrador Sea (VITALS)||Paul Myers, University of Alberta (Principal Applicant), and 23 others.||Fisheries and Oceans Canada||The VITALS (Ventilation, Interactions and Transports Across the Labrador Sea) research network will answer fundamental questions about how the deep ocean exchanges carbon dioxide, oxygen, and heat with the atmosphere through the Labrador Sea. New observations and modelling will determine what controls these exchanges and how they interact with varying climate, to resolve the role of deep convection regions in the Carbon Cycle and Earth System.|
|Glacial Evolution in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago Through Geodetic and Oceanographic Monitoring||Martin Sharp, University of Alberta (Principal Applicant), and 8 others.||Natural Resources Canada||This project aims to quantify rates of mass loss from glaciers and ice caps in the Canadian Arctic Islands, decompose these rates into components associated with surface mass balance (snow accumulation minus surface meltwater runoff) and marine mass loss (melt of terminal ice cliffs and the underside of floating ice tongues), plus iceberg calving. It will also explore the relationship between mass loss rates and atmospheric and oceanic forcings, and quantify rates and patterns of crustal deformation induced by glacier mass loss.|
|Canadian Network for Regional Climate and Weather Processes||Laxmi Sushama, Université du Québec à Montréal (Principal Applicant), and 19 others.||Environment Canada||The aim of this Network is to explore the added value of high-resolution models on climate and weather simulations. The research will also focus on improving our understanding of the physical processes, feedbacks and interactions of the regional (Canadian/Arctic) Earth system.|
|Regional-scale, Upper-level Wind Fields (Real Time Monitoring, Analysis and Data Assimilation)||Peter Taylor, York University (Principal Applicant), and 12 others.||Environment Canada||The OQ-Net profilers continuously measure wind at heights between one kilometre and 12 kilometres from 10 locations in the Windsor-Montreal corridor. Our research will enable numerical models and
human forecasters to use these measurements to improve regional weather prediction in this densely populated area.
|Integrated Marine and Atmospheric Carbon Assessment (IMASC)||Helmuth Thomas, Dalhousie University (Principal Applicant), and 13 others.||Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada||Anthropogenic CO2 emissions have increased the CO2 concentrations in both the atmosphere and ocean, which in turn has deleterious effects on the Earth's climate and on the ocean biota by altering the radiation balance and ocean pH. The overall motivation of the proposed project IMASC is to mechanistically and quantitatively understand the fate of Canadian fossil fuel CO2 emissions from sources to sinks and to quantify their role in altering the oceanic pH in Canadian coastal waters.|
|Subseasonal Forecasting of the Atmosphere and Ocean||Keith Thompson, Dalhousie University (Principal Applicant), and 6 others.||Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada||Subseasonal forecasting means predicting with lead times of a week to a season. This project will focus on the societally and economically important topic of subseasonal forecasting of atmosphere and ocean ‘weather,’ including extreme winds, precipitation, air temperature, coastal flooding, ocean currents and surface waves.|
|Assessing the Ability of Environmental Simulation Models to Inform Decision Making||Bryan Tolson, University of Waterloo (Principal Applicant), and 12 others.||Environment Canada||Although computer models of water resources systems are used to inform national policy and help resource managers make important decisions in response to the future impacts of climate change, the current methods used to evaluate the suitability of these models to support decision making are largely insufficient. This research program is intended to develop rigorous new methodologies for explicitly assessing whether such models are likely to correctly inform policy and management decisions and to improve the capacity of these models to assist decision makers.|
|Foresee (4C) - Changing Climates of Canadian Cities||James Voogt, Western University (Principal Applicant), and 14 others.||Environment Canada||The Foresee (4C) Changing Climates of Canadian Cities Research Network will undertake research to improve our understanding of Earth system processes in urban environments and how to optimize their representation in urban- to regional-scale weather, hydrology, climate and atmospheric chemistry models. The network will develop numerical modelling tools to forecast, project and assess risks associated with extreme weather, floods, and climate impacts on Canadian cities.|
|Biogeochemical Processes in Earth System Models||Andrew Weaver, University of Victoria (Principal Applicant), and 11 others.||Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada||The Biogeochemical Processes in Earth System Models Research Network is targeted at gaps within the existing climate modelling capacity of Environment Canada and Department of Fisheries and Oceans, for which there is a pressing need to undertake both collaborative research and training of highly qualified personnel. Our research approach will ensure the delivery of new biogeochemical modules for Canada’s operational global climate model at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria, British Columbia.|
|Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN)||Howard Wheater, University of Saskatchewan (Principal Applicant), and 31 others.||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Parks Canada||The cold interior of western and northern Canada east of the Continental Divide has one of the world’s most extreme and variable climates and is experiencing rapid environmental change. A Changing Cold Region Network (CCRN) is proposed which will integrate existing and new experimental data with modelling and remote sensing products to understand, diagnose and predict changing land, water and climate, and their interactions and feedbacks, for this important region.|