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Montréal, Canada

Grenier P.,University of Quebec at Montreal | De Elia R.,University of Quebec at Montreal | Chaumont D.,Ouranos
Journal of Climate | Year: 2015

The path toward a warmer global climate is not smooth, but, rather, is made up of a succession of positive and negative temperature trends, with cooling having more chance to occur the shorter the time scale considered. In this paper, estimates of the probabilities of short-term cooling (Pcool) during the period 2006-35 are performed for 5146 locations across Canada. Probabilities of cooling over durations from 5 to 25 yr come from an ensemble of 60 climate scenarios, based on three different methods using a gridded observational product and CMIP5 climate simulations. These methods treat interannual variability differently, and an analysis in hindcast mode suggests they are relatively reliable. Unsurprisingly, longer durations imply smaller Pcool values; in the case of annual temperatures, the interdecile range of Pcool values across Canada is, for example, ~2%-18% for 25 yr and ~40%-46% for 5 yr. Results vary slightly with the scenario design method, with similar geographical patterns emerging. With regards to seasonal influence, spring and winter are generally associated with higher Pcool values. Geographical Pcool patterns and their seasonality are explained in terms of the interannual variability over background trend ratio. This study emphasizes the importance of natural variability superimposed on anthropogenically forced long-term trends and the fact that regional and local short-term cooling trends are to be expected with nonnegligible probabilities. © 2015 American Meteorological Society. Source


Mladjic B.,University of Quebec at Montreal | Sushama L.,University of Quebec at Montreal | Khaliq M.N.,Environment Canada | Laprise R.,University of Quebec at Montreal | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Climate | Year: 2011

Changes to the intensity and frequency of hydroclimatic extremes can have significant impacts on sectors associated with water resources, and therefore it is relevant to assess their vulnerabilities in a changing climate. This study focuses on the assessment of projected changes to selected return levels of 1-, 2-, 3-, 5-, 7- and 10-day annual (April-September) maximum precipitation amounts, over Canada, using an ensemble of five 30-yr integrations each for current reference (1961-90) and future (2040-71) periods performed with the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM); the future simulations correspond to the A2 Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) scenario. Two methods, the regional frequency analysis (RFA), which operates at the scale of statistically homogenous units of predefined climatic regions, with the possibility of downscaling to gridcell level, and the individual gridbox analysis (GBA), are used in this study, with the time-slice stationarity assumption. Validation of model simulated 20-, 50- and 100-yr return levels of single- and multiday precipitation extremes against those observed for the 1961-90 period using both the RFA and GBA methods suggest an underestimation of extreme events by the CRCM over most of Canada. The CRCM projected changes, realized with the RFA method at regional scale, to selected return levels for the future (2041-70) period, in comparison to the reference (1961-90) period, suggest statistically significant increases in event magnitudes for 7 out of 10 studied climatic regions. Though the results of the RFA and GBA methods at gridcell level suggest positive changes to studied return levels for most parts of Canada, the results corresponding to the 20-yr return period for the two methods agree better, while the agreement abates with increasing return periods, that is, 50 and 100 yr. It is expected that the increase in return levels of short and longer duration precipitation extremes will have severe implications for various water resource-related development and management activities. © 2011 American Meteorological Society. Source


Leduc M.,Concordia University at Montreal | Damon Matthews H.,Concordia University at Montreal | De Elia R.,Ouranos
Nature Climate Change | Year: 2016

The Transient Climate Response to cumulative carbon Emissions (TCRE) measures the response of global temperatures to cumulative CO 2 emissions. Although the TCRE is a global quantity, climate impacts manifest predominantly in response to local climate changes. Here we quantify the link between CO2 emissions and regional temperature change, showing that regional temperatures also respond approximately linearly to cumulative CO2 emissions. Using an ensemble of twelve Earth system models, we present a novel application of pattern scaling to define the regional pattern of temperature change per emission of CO2. Ensemble mean regional TCRE values range from less than 1 °C per TtC for some ocean regions, to more than 5 °C per TtC in the Arctic, with a pattern of higher values over land and at high northern latitudes. We find also that high-latitude ocean regions deviate more strongly from linearity as compared to land and lower-latitude oceans. This suggests that ice-albedo and ocean circulation feedbacks are important contributors to the overall negative deviation from linearity of the global temperature response to high levels of cumulative emissions. The strong linearity of the regional climate response over most land regions provides a robust way to quantitatively link anthropogenic CO2 emissions to local-scale climate impacts. © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source


News Article | March 22, 2016
Site: http://motherboard.vice.com/

In 2008, Canada eliminated the position of national science adviser, angering scientists who saw the office as a key point of contact between the government and the scientific community. Over the next eight years, Canada went to war on science by preventing researchers from talking to the press (in a word, “muzzling”), and cutting billions in funding for research. Along the way, Canada gained a reputation for being flagrantly anti-science. Now, Canada is looking to revive the role of the national science adviser, and undo some of the damage done during the Harper years, with a “chief science officer.” Whoever is chosen for the position, and when—staff of science minister Kirsty Duncan would neither confirm nor deny that they will be named with the release of the federal budget on Tuesday—they will have one hell of a job ahead of them. Although much of the role of the chief science officer appears undefined at the moment, one theme overarches the entire discussion: transparency. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Duncan, he said that the chief science officer would be mandated to “ensure that government science is fully available to the public, that scientists are able to speak freely about their work, and that scientific analyses are considered when the government makes decisions.” The previous Canadian government’s dubious record on science is a big ship to turn around, and it’s been on the same, dirge-like course for nearly a decade. With that in mind, here are some badass scientists that we think would be perfect for the job. Watch more from Motherboard: Oil and Water Katie Gibbs knows how to get people fired up about transparency (resist the urge to fall asleep after reading that word), which is pretty damn impressive. In 2012, the Harper government’s campaign to muzzle scientists was in full swing, and Gibbs was one of the chief organizers behind a protest that ended up swelling into thousands of angry researchers marching on Parliament Hill. A scientist by training, and a staunch advocate of government transparency by trade, Gibbs hasn’t let up on her cage-rattling since that day four years ago. In the intervening years, she’s helped to run Evidence for Democracy, an advocacy group that sprung up in the wake of the protest. Bringing her outlook and history of campaigning for transparency into the government itself would be a big move. BRENDA PARLEE Canada Research Chair in Social Responses to Ecological Change, University of Alberta Parlee’s bread and butter is researching the impacts of climate change, but with a focus on aboriginal beliefs that is all too uncommon in Canadian science today. She and her team of students go out into the field to engage with indigenous communities about changes to their environment as a result of climate change—the declining populations of certain animals, for example. In 2013, she helped organize a permanent exhibit at the University of Alberta called “Elders as Scientists” to raise awareness about indigenous knowledge systems. Appointing Parlee would make aboriginal knowledge a part of the communication process between scientists, the government, and the public. Canada’s track record with our indigenous peoples has been pretty awful in nearly every regard for, well, ever, and including them and their knowledge into our science priorities would be a welcome gesture. Bourque was once a climatologist for Environment Canada, but these days he mostly specializes in handing out scientific knowledge suplexes. Who better to take on the role of bridging the gap between science, government, and the public? He’s served as the executive director of Ouranos, a Canadian climate change think tank, since 2013, so he knows how to run an organization. He’s also somewhat of a firebrand when it comes to keeping temperatures on an even keel, which is a plus, and doesn’t hesitate to lay out the scientific consensus about climate in no uncertain terms—even when faced by government ministers. Basically, he’s got the cred and isn’t afraid to flaunt it.


News Article
Site: http://news.mit.edu/topic/mitenergy-rss.xml

By 2020, the state of Massachusetts is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions at least 25 percent compared with 1990 levels, all while up to 25 percent of its electricity generation facilities are expected to go offline. Angling to shore up its energy resources without driving up emissions levels, the state recently passed a bill requiring Massachusetts to procure long-term contracts that tap 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power and 1,200 megawatts of hydropower or other renewables by 2025. (One megawatt can power up to 1,000 homes.) Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who signed the bill into law, argues that a significant infusion of Canadian hydropower will be needed to enable the state to meet its impending energy and climate deadlines. Aiming to equip decision-makers in the New England/Québec region with the knowledge they’ll need to evaluate this and other cross-border, low-carbon energy and climate policy options, the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and two Montréal-based research institutions — the business school Hautes Études en Commerce (HEC), and Ouranos, a climate-change think tank — launched a new collaboration on energy, economy, and climate policy analysis at a signing ceremony on Aug. 28 in Boston. Convened during the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, the ceremony featured remarks by representatives of all three signatories, including MIT Vice President for Research Maria Zuber on behalf of the Joint Program; by Éric Martel, president and CEO of Hydro-Québec, a state-owned electricity supplier and one of the world's leading producers of hydropower; and by Québec Premier Philippe Couillard. “New England, Québec, and the Eastern Provinces of Canada have strong ties through trade and an important opportunity to work and to contribute to a solution to climate change by providing clean energy at a reasonable cost to consumers,” said Zuber. “This research collaboration can help to provide a shared foundation for the development of sound energy strategies in New England, Québec, and beyond.” Martel announced Hydro-Québec’s intention to provide partial funding support for the research collaboration. “Hydro-Québec is proud to announce its participation in this research project,” said Martel. “At Hydro-Québec, we are convinced of the necessity of such studies which will help decision-makers to choose low-carbon energy policy options for the New England and Québec region. So what could be better than to bring together some of the top researchers in the field, those working at MIT, Ouranos, and HEC Montreal?” said Martel. “Hydro-Québec is happy to be part of such promising, forward-looking research.” Noting Québec’s aim to become more ambitious in tapping its renewable energy resources, including its vast hydropower capacity, Premier Couillard emphasized the need for evidence-based policymaking guided by science and independent analysis. “We want to ... take this opportunity to become even more efficient in terms of dropping our emissions and mitigating and adapting North America to climate change,” he said. The primary goal of the initiative is to develop advanced technical analysis in support of energy, economic, and climate-related decision-making by public and private sector leaders in New England and Québec. Informed by that goal, the three parties will work together to develop modeling tools needed to examine the economic relationships between New England and Québec. These new tools will enable the researchers to perform integrated assessments of energy/economic/climate policy in Québec and New England, which will be needed to demonstrate how expanding hydropower in New England and other proposed policies to integrate low-carbon, renewable energy sources into the regional electricity system, will benefit Québec, individual New England states, and the region as a whole. The initiative also aims to model the energy, economic, and climate impacts of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a framework for developing carbon cap-and-trade systems among the California and several Canadian provinces. By modeling Québec — and potentially Ontario and other provinces and states — researchers could model energy and economic relationships among existing and prospective WCI members, enabling each to better understand the economic and environmental implications of participation in the WCI. Each party to the new research collaboration contributes unique expertise. The MIT Joint Program has substantial experience in developing global and regional energy-economic models that simulate the economywide effects of different policies and technologies; HEC Montréal provides significant expertise in the energy sector, with a focus on electricity markets and climate policy, and in-depth knowledge of Québec’s policies and energy system; and Ouranos contributes a strong capability to evaluate climate policy risks and opportunities. All three research groups are united in their quest to provide an evidence-based foundation for policy throughout the region that addresses climate change and promotes a clean energy future, which Zuber described as the “defining issue of our time.” “Climate change is a global problem, but one that will affect all of us, regionally and personally,” she observed. “I am full of optimism that by working together, we can create a future that we and our children and our grandchildren will want to live in.”

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