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Tour Speakers

2019 CMOS TOUR SPEAKERS (see Tour Schedule-Roberta Hamme and Tour Schedule-Laxmi Sushama )

Roberta Hamme

University of Victoria
CMOS Western Tour Speaker


   Presentation Topic:
 Ocean Oxygen Cycling from Robotic and Shipboard Observations
Ocean oxygen concentrations control where organisms thrive in the ocean and provide important clues to biological productivity rates and the impacts of climate change.  Yet despite being one of the oldest and most robust oceanographic chemical measurements, our understanding of oxygen cycling and variability has been limited by the infrequency of shipboard observations.  Oxygen sensors mounted on Argo floats offer the means of vastly expanding the ocean oxygen database.  These autonomous robotic floats change their density to profile through the water column.  Shipboard observations remain important to calibrate sensors, to deploy floats, and especially to conduct intensive studies to understand the processes affecting observed oxygen variations.  Oxygen data from Argo floats in the Labrador Sea, one of the few sites in the world where surface waters move into the deep ocean, have been used to determine the low oxygen content of these newly formed water masses.  Oxygen data from Argo floats in the North Pacific Ocean have been used to estimate biological productivity rates over an annual cycle.  Some of the new questions that can be answered using such observations include documenting and understanding recent downward trends in oxygen throughout most of the ocean’s subsurface waters (known as ocean deoxygenation) and linking oxygen cycles with other sensors now being deployed on Argo floats such as pH, nitrate, and optical properties.     


Roberta Hamme is a chemical oceanographer who studies the marine carbon cycle. She works on understanding and quantifying the natural mechanisms that transport carbon from the surface ocean to the deep, reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Her main tools are high precision measurements of dissolved gases, both bioactive gases like oxygen and inert gases like neon, argon, and krypton. Ongoing projects include developing methods to quantify how closely gases equilibrate with the atmosphere before surface water moves into the interior ocean, using oxygen to measure ocean productivity, and determining amounts of ocean denitrification (the transformation of bioavailable nitrate to unavailable nitrogen gas). She holds a Canada Research Chair in Ocean Carbon Dynamics at University of Victoria’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.    

      Laxmi Sushama 
       McGill University


 Presentation Topic:                                                                    Climate-Engineering Dialogue in the Context of Arctic  Engineering Systems

The Canadian Network for Regional Climate and Weather Processes focussed on quantifying and reducing uncertainties in climate projections and weather predictions for Canada’s northern regions. A number of land-related modules were improved and/or implemented in the Canadian regional climate models as part of this Network, which has led to better simulations for the region and improved understanding of processes and feedbacks. However, the climate model simulations available are still too coarse to provide information at the spatial resolution required for many engineering applications. Changing land dynamics and properties, particularly related to permafrost degradation, and extreme events can have significant impacts on both surface and subsurface infrastructure. Adapting to permafrost degradation will require remedial measures to be applied to existing infrastructure and new approaches in designing and building new infrastructure. This talk will look at some of the engineering-relevant aspects of weather and climate, including extremes, for the Arctic and will discuss impacts and adaptation strategies and framework for selected engineering operations and infrastructure systems. Due to the rapid warming projected in Arctic regions, it is very likely that at least several tipping points will be crossed, some of which might pose important risks to infrastructure. Specialized analyses of climate model outputs from this perspective to estimate important thresholds for selected engineering systems will also be presented.



Laxmi Sushama is Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Trottier Chair in Sustainability in Engineering and Design at McGill University. She has held a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Regional Climate Modeling, leveraging her research expertise in engineering hydrology, water resources engineering, climate science and regional earth system modelling. By integrating high-latitude land-atmosphere processes, feedbacks and interactions into climate models, her research strongly influenced regional climate modelling and its applications for cold regions. Her current research also focuses on climate-sustainability nexus with a special emphasis on urban environments, climate resilience of infrastructure and sustainability in engineering design. She has also led major Networks, including the most recent NSERC-funded Canadian Network for Regional Climate and Weather Processes.

Previously in 2018:

Dr.  Gilbert Brunet     


   Presentation Topic:
    Toward Seamless Weather and Climate Earth-system Prediction  

Over the last decade or so, predicting the weather, climate and atmospheric composition has emerged as one of the most important areas of scientific endeavor. This is partly because the remarkable increase in skill of current weather forecasts has made society more and more dependent on them day to day for a whole range of decision making. And it is partly because climate change is now widely accepted and the realization is growing rapidly that it will affect every person in the world profoundly through high-impact climate and weather events.

Hence one of the important challenges of our societies is to remain at the cutting-edge of modelling and predicting the evolution of the fully coupled environmental system: atmosphere (weather and composition), oceans, land surface (physical and biological), and cryosphere. This effort will provide an increasingly accurate and reliable service across all the socio-economic sectors that are vulnerable to the effects of adverse weather and climatic conditions, whether now or in the future. This emerging challenge was at the center of the World Weather Open Science Conference (Montreal, 2014 ) . The outcomes of the conference are described in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) book: Seamless Prediction of the Earth System: from Minutes to Months, (G. Brunet, S. Jones, P. Ruti Eds., WMO-No. 1156, 2015). It is freely available on line at the World Meteorological Organization website. We will discuss some of the long term goals of this effort and provide examples of Earth-system modelling and prediction from urban scales to global scales.    

About  Gilbert Brunet

Gilbert Brunet obtained his PhD in meteorology at McGill University (1989). He is Director of the Meteorological Research Division (MRD), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) since 2006, including a secondment as Director Weather Science at the Met Office (2012–15), United Kingdom. He was awarded the 2010 Patterson Distinguished Service Medal for distinguished service to meteorology in Canada for his contributions in the field of meteorology. He was Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the World Weather Research Program (WWRP), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), 2007–14. In that role, he has contributed to several international strategic planning activities in weather and climate science.

From a scientific research perspective, he has been recognised as an expert in weather and climate dynamics since his post-doctoral work at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (Cambridge University, UK, 1989–91) and Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (École Normale Supérieure, Paris, 1991–93). His work covers analytical and empirical studies of wave processes from regional to planetary scale, and numerical weather prediction from minutes to seasons. He has co-authored more than fifty peer reviewed papers and has co-supervised the theses of ten graduate students as Adjunct Professor at the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, and at the Département des Sciences de la Terre et de l'Atmosphère, UQÀM.





Previously in 2017:

Dr. Richard Dewey

Ocean Networks Canada,
University of Victoria

   Presentation Topic:
   Recent Pacific Anomalies: Oscillations, El Nino, and    The Blob

The Pacific Ocean has exhibited a number of major anomalies during the last few years, generally responding to large scale atmospheric patterns. Some of these patterns have been seen before, including the Pacific Oscillation dating back over nearly a century. However, recent occurrences have been detected under the shadow of climate change and in the presence of enhanced observing and forecast systems. Our ability to detect, characterize, and correlate these patterns continues to advance, while our ability to predict and understand the causes and linkages remains somewhat limited. In this overview of major events dating from 2012 through to the end of 2016, we will piece together some of the puzzle, or puzzles, peculiar to the northeast Pacific to reveal what we know and don’t know about this critical region    

About Richard Dewey
Richard Dewey is an Oceanographer, with degrees in Physics and Oceanography from the Universities of Victoria and British Columbia, respectively. He built his career as a sea-going observationalist, with stop-overs in Corvallis and Seattle before returning to UVic in 1995. As one of the original architects of the VENUS and NEPTUNE ocean observatories, he now manages the interdisciplinary science programs enabled by the comprehensive systems operated by Ocean Networks Canada, in Victoria. A thirty year member of CMOS, he is proud to represent Canada’s leading role in the world of cabled ocean observatories. With observing comes the demand for explaining strange signals, as was the case in 2014 when anomalously warm waters showed up in the northeast Pacific.                   



Previously in 2016:

 Francis Zwiers, 
Director of the Pacific Climate Impacts 
   Consortium, University of Victoria
  Francis Zwiers
Presentation Topic:
Changing extremes - is it real, or just imagined? 
Today's electronic and print media are replete with stories about extreme weather and climate events from all over the world.   
These stories draw our attention because of their immediacy and the devastating impacts of these events,  which often result in deaths and hundreds or even billions of dollars in damage. 
In the aftermath of such devastation, media raise questions over whether extreme events are more frequent and intense than in the past, 
whether human activity is a driving force behind long-term changes, and most inevitably, if the particular event just passed was caused by human influence on the climate. 
All three of these questions will be discussed, and an overview will be given on the latest answers that climate science can provide

The talk is available in the CMOS Webinar Webpage
 Prof. Ronald Stewart 
University of Manitoba

Ronald Stewart
Presentation Topic: 
Hazardous Near 0°C Precipitation 

Winter precipitation affects all of us in Canada and it is often leads to hazardous conditions. This certainly applies to the precipitation falling near 0°C (including freezing rain, ice pellets and wet snow) but there is still considerable uncertainty regarding its characteristics, formation, detection and simulation. This limits our monitoring efforts as well as our predictive capability at all time scales. Such issues will be reviewed in this presentation.



Past Tour Speakers

Year Name Topic

Kumiko Azetsu-Scott

Dr. Charles Hannah
About 1/4 of carbon dioxide (CO2) released by human activities to the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s has been taken up by the oceans

An overview of the oceanographic component of the World Class Tanker Safety Initiative ( Link to the presentation given at CMC Dorval.  (Windows and Mac))
2014 Tom McElroy Ozone Science: From Discovery to Recovery - and Beyond
2013 Denis Gilbert Oceans and Climate Change /  Océans et changements climatiques
2012 Eyad Atallah Where's the rain? A talk on the connection between tropical cyclones in the North Pacific and drought in Western Canada
2011 Thomas F. Pedersen Climate Change and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions: Blending Science, Social Science, Politics and Opportunity
2010 Jim Drummond Our PEARL Near the Pole: Atmospheric Research at 80oN
2009 Ken Denman Climate Change: a Collision of Science, Politics, Economics and Ethics / Le changement climatique : un choc d'idées scientifiques, politiques, économiques et éthiques
2007-2008 Ed Hudson Arctic Weather / Le Temps arctique
2006-2007 Fraser J.M. Davidson &  Dan Wright * Ocean Forecasts for Canadians: Improving safety at sea through prediction of ocean behaviour
2005-2006 Phil Chadwick Weather through the Eyes of Canadian Artists Featuring Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven
2005 Maurice Levasseur Testing the Iron-DMS-Climate Connection in the Subarctic Pacific  / Tester la relation fer-DMS- climat dans le Pacifique subarctique
2004 M.A. Jenkins Coupled Wildfire-atmosphere Modelling / Modélisation couplée feux de forêt/atmosphère
2003 Geoff L. Holland The Challenges, Past, Present and Future of Ocean Observing Systems
2002 Michel Jean Non-traditional Applications of Meteorological Modelling
2001 Howard J. Freeland Argo Armada - a Global Array of Profiling Floats
2000 Robert S. Schemenauer Fog and Fog Collection - Exploring this Hidden Water Resource
1999 Greg Flato The Cryosphere and Climate Change
1998 Natalie Gauthier The interMET Project: Using the Internet to Improve the Teaching of Meteorology in Quebec High Schools
1996-1997 William Hsieh Neural Networks for Short-Term Climate Prediction
1995-1996 Ambury Stuart How to Establish a Small Scientific Consulting Business
1994-1995 J.R.N. Lazier The North Atlantic Oscillation versus the Cold Fresh Fishless Labrador Sea
1993 A. Staniforth Numerical Forecasting of the Atmosphere
1992 Jim Gower Satellite Images - Where are we after 20 years?
1991 J.-P. Blanchet Global Climate Modelling
1990 M.I. El-Sabh * The International Decade for Natural Hazard Reduction - A Challenge for Canadian Meteorologists and Oceanographers
1989 David Phillips
Peter Zwack *
Canadian Weather Legends - Facts, Fallacies  and Fables
1988 Trevor Platt The Role of Marine Plant Life
1987 M. Khandekar - W. Canada
L.A. Mysak - E. Canada
Asian Monsoon Droughts and Floods
Ocean Wave Modelling
1986 D. Farmer Uses of Acoustic Techniques in Meteorology and Oceanography
1985 R. Portelli, B. Weisman  
1984 Warren L. Godson * Diagnosis and Prognosis of Atmospheric Science Controversies
1983 R.O. Ramseier * Passive Microwave Remote Sensing of Sea Ice
1982 P.A. Taylor Wind Power in Canada - Some Meteorological Aspects
1981 G.L. Austin, W.J. Emery  
1980 M. Glanz  
1979 A. Fraser  
1978 D.S. Davison  
1976 J. Maybank *   
1975 P.E. Merilees *  
1974 A.G. Davenport  
1973 W.R. Frisken  
1972 M.B. Danard *  
1971 F.K. Hare *  
1970 T.R. Oke  
1969 K.M. King  

* = Deceased

Note:  For many years these Tour Speakers were supported by AES and DFO.