Outgoing CMOS President / président sortant de la SCMO
Friends and colleagues:
This issue of the Bulletin goes to press shortly before the Saskatoon Congress. This year's edition will once again be a joint Congress with the Canadian Geophysical Union and the Canadian Water Resources Association. Many thanks to Craig Smith, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee, and Geoff Strong of the Scientific Program Committee and to their team of volunteers. It promises to be very stimulating and we will also be holding our first meeting of the newly-minted Canadian Societies for the Geophysical Sciences. In addition, at the Annual General Meeting of the CMOS Congress we hope to get important feedback from all the members on the proposed changes to CMOS governance. I hope to meet with as many of you as possible. The AGM will also formalise changes to CMOS Council and Executive Committees. In this, my last column as President, I wish to express the Society's deepest thanks to two Councillors-at-Large who will be stepping down. They are Denis Gilbert and Kim Strong. During my own time on the executive I have seen that the Society has benefited a great deal from their wise advice and their commitment to the goals of CMOS and they have certainly made my job as President much easier. Also stepping down from the Society's Executive will be Norm McFarlane, after serving as Vice-President, President and Past-President. I first met Norm at the CMOS Congress in St. John's in 1987 while I was still a graduate student. He has been a role model for me as a researcher for decades and I think it is fair to say that, more recently, he led the way for me as CMOS President too. It has been a privilege to work with these people and I hope we can do so again. It is also a pleasure to welcome in Pierre Gauthier as our new President. I have known Pierre for 30 years and I can assure readers that we are in good hands for the next year.
Outgoing CMOS President
Président sortant de la SCMO
Incoming CMOS President / Nouveau président de la SCMO
Friends and colleagues:
I would first like to also express my thanks to all the people mentioned by Peter for their contributions. This is a time for changes for CMOS with a new governance being put in place. I became vice-president last year and this past year, I got introduced to the affairs of CMOS. This brought us to realize that CMOS is changing as there is a growing and broader interest in issues related to climate and weather. I would like to thank Norman McFarlane who is now stepping down as past president. His enthusiasm and advice were inspiring to all of us. The new executive based in Montréal has now completed its first year and I would like to thank David Huard, corresponding secretary, André Giguère, recording secretary, Nacéra Chergui, treasurer for their involvement and dedication. Last year, I had the privilege to chair the scientific committee of the Congress in Montréal and this gave me the opportunity to be in touch with many of you who organized sessions on a wide range of themes, a reflection of the breadth of topics of interest to us. I am equally impressed by what is in preparation for the upcoming Congress in Saskatoon and I hope to see many of you on this occasion. This year, it is organized jointly with the Canadian Geophysical Union and the Canadian Water Resources Association. I echo Peter's words to thank the organizers of this annual event which is so important and stimulating for all of us.
The new governance of our Society will be pursued and completed next year. I would hope that we seize this opportunity to revitalize our ways of reaching out to society which is very concerned and affected by climate and weather events. Our channels of communications need to be able to express strongly our views on these issues. Although the interest of the population is more on impact and adaptation issues, it is equally important to make people realize that such studies rely on the reliability and accuracy of our science to be able to adequately respond to a changing climate with changing weather patterns. Funding of research is also a concern to both government scientists and the academic community. The consequence of inadequate funding is that we may lose valuable Canadian expertise that may not be there when society will need it. The CMOS community is in a position to express these concerns and to speak as an authoritative voice on climate and weather issues. This year will see the release of the fifth assessment report (AR-5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and this will certainly bring the spotlight on us. Quite a year to become president of CMOS!
Incoming CMOS President
Nouveau président de la SCMO
(CMOS Bulletin SCMO June / juin 2013)
Friends and colleagues:
As I write this column my email is humming with messages about the final arrangements for our upcoming joint congress in Saskatoon with the CWRA and the CGU. It is already clear to me that it will be a large and very successful event, with all the usual ingredients of our congress plus the added stimulus from the other two geophysical societies. Many thanks to organisers Craig Smith, Geoff Strong, Virginia Wittrock and their teams. It is only appropriate that the Saskatoon meeting will also be the venue for the first real face-to-face meeting of the newly formed Canadian Societies for the Geophysical Sciences, a loose affiliation of groups like CMOS able to speak with one voice on matters of concern to geophysical scientists. With the promise of exciting and important new research results, many exhibitor booths informing of new developments and services related to meteorology and oceanography, plenary and public lectures by leading researchers, special side events such as the Teachers' Day that promote educational activities, and the social events that celebrate and reward achievement and bring our community together, I look forward to meeting with as many CMOS members as I possibly can. Please make your arrangements as soon as possible.
I am particularly looking forward to our Annual General Meeting, where we are hoping for some feedback on upcoming changes to CMOS governance from as broad a slice of the membership as possible. This was discussed in this column in the last issue of the CMOS Bulletin SCMO.
In other news CMOS has recently written a letter to the international body that assigns internet addresses (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)) opposing the application of the US cable weather channel to reserve internet addresses ending with ".weather". [See copy of the letter sent to ICANN below. It was later sent to The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)].
The basis for our objection was two-fold: first, there are more private companies than this one providing weather information around the globe and this would seem to give them an unfair advantage (an objection also registered by the government of Australia); second, these very simple and intuitive web addresses would be amongst the first people unfamiliar with our science might type. Our fear was that this would interfere with the authority of national weather services as the only legal source of weather warnings and public safety information. ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee will decide whether or not to make a formal complaint about this application in April. ICANN will then make the final decision. ICANN does not have to comply with the governments' wishes, but must provide "well-reasoned arguments" if it decides to deny any rejection request. It is the hope of CMOS that there will be many objections such as ours.
Finally, as I enter the home stretch of my year as President of CMOS, I am very happy to have advanced some of the files left to me by my predecessors and to have started a few others of my own. In thinking of the future I suppose one of my greatest concerns must be the funding situation for our science. The current government appears not to be willing, or in a position to expand government's contribution. Via NSERC they have recently funded university researchers within the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research programme, although they were careful to point out that this would only involve a single call for proposals. Successful applications are now beginning a five-year period of at least some stability, but we have no news of future research funding for our science beyond the usual NSERC programmes available to all of the natural sciences and engineering. An important future priority of CMOS and perhaps the entire geosciences community should be to try to convince all levels of government and Canadians in general of the need for this.
CMOS President / Président de la SCMO
March 12, 2013
To whom it may concern,
I am the President of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) which is the national association of over 800 meteorologists, oceanographers, climatologists and allied professionals whose goal is the advancement of these sciences and services based upon them. CMOS represents all three of the public, private and academic sectors, all of which are involved in the provision of weather services. We advocate a free and open market for the provision of private and specialised weather services and a single authoritative government source for public weather warnings. In existence in one form or another since 1939, CMOS has deep connections with other national meteorological organisations and international bodies such as the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) and the International Association for Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS).
As a key part of the Global Weather Enterprise, CMOS wishes to object to the proposal to ICANN of The Weather Channel (TWC) of the USA to reserve the domain .weather for their exclusive global use. In particular, we support the objection of Accuweather to the TWC application.
We believe that the application by TWC is completely inappropriate for the following very important public policy reasons:
(CMOS Bulletin SCMO April / avril 2013)
Friends and colleagues:
This is the issue of the Bulletin where I should urge all you procrastinators to renew your membership! In addition, it is time for us all to start making arrangements to attend the upcoming Saskatoon congress. It will be a joint meeting with the Canadian Geophysical Union and the Canadian Water Resources Association and will host special sessions dedicated to 2013s identification as the year of Mathematics of Planet Earth. It therefore seems clear it will be another in a recent string of excellent CMOS congresses and I look forward to the stimulating discussion.
In the meantime, I would like to inform the membership that we will soon be required to make some changes to CMOS governance and to start the discussion on what precisely we should do. The reason is that there have been changes to federal legislation on not-for- profit corporations. As you know, we have had a Council composed of all the centre and committee chairs as well as a treasurer, recording and corresponding secretaries, councillors-at-large and the president, vice-president and past-president. As the total number of CMOS Council members is in the mid-thirties, a more compact Executive Committee, composed of the treasurer, the two secretaries, councillors-at-large as well as the three people in the presidential track, does most of the work at the national level. Of course, both the Council and the Executive are wisely guided by our Executive Director and our Director of Publications who are ex-officio members of both Council and Executive.
The new legislation requires that we have a Board of Directors, that there be no ex-officio members and that all Directors must be elected by the membership at large. We need to file new bylaws, describing how all of this would work for CMOS, before late 2014. It is certainly not too early to start since there will only be two Annual General Meetings between now and then.
The discussion of this at recent Executve meetings shows signs of converging to the idea that we should do away with the Executive Committee and simply get the Council down to a more manageable size. It has been pointed out that the Centre Chairs were added to Council at the time of the creation of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science (CFCAS). That organisation was set up with a Board of Trustees and Members who elected them. The Members of CFCAS were by definition exactly those of the CMOS Council, reflecting the clear link between the two organisations. Since CMOS Council members had such an important role to play with respect to CFCAS, the CMOS Council was enlarged to broaden the discussion. Recently CFCAS, now rebranded as the Canadian Climate Forum (CCF), asked their members (the CMOS Council) to approve their bylaws under the new legislation. The two organisations decided to pursue separate futures in that henceforth, CCF will have its own members selected by their Board of Directors. There is therefore no longer this need for CMOS to have a large council. In addition, centre chairs pose a bit of a philosophical problem if they are to remain on our future Board of Directors. In the new rules all Directors must be elected by all the members of CMOS. If one feels the Halifax centre chair should be elected by only members of the Halifax centre, then that person can not be on the Board of Directors. Of course, given the collegial nature of CMOS, this might not be such a difficult problem.
The Vice-President of CMOS has been traditionally charged with maintaining the link with the centres. If we are to remove centre chairs from the Board of Directors, then some mechanism must be devised to relay their concerns and issues to the national Society. This would appear to be via a committee of centre chairs, chaired by the Vice-President, who will certainly be a member of the Board of Directors. That person will need to report to the Board to keep it informed on these issues.
There is also the question relating to committee chairs. While many CMOS committees are active and very important, vacancies on some have been notoriously difficult to fill. I do not believe chairs of these committees should be members of the new Board of Directors. On the other hand, CMOS is a scientific society and we have a Scientific Committee charged with coordinating the formulation of position statements. As I wrote last time in this space, we have all agreed on the need for an ongoing media strategy and these position statements are an integral part of it. I feel strongly that the chair of the Scientific Committee ought to be a member of the Board of Directors.
In closing, it appears some important changes to the way CMOS works are being imposed on us. The discussion above is still in its infancy and many of the opinions are mine alone. We still have to familiarise ourselves with the details of the new legislation and will probably secure the services of a lawyer. In the meantime, feedback from the members on what they feel would work best and how we can use this opportunity to improve the Society, in keeping with the best of its traditions, is more than welcome.
Peter Bartello CMOS
President / Président de la SCMO
(CMOS Bulletin SCMO February / février 2013)
Friends and colleagues:
At this time of year many of us will soon take a well-deserved break from our normal routine and reflect upon the year that is about to close. It seems quite normal for me in this column to think out loud a bit about CMOS, what it has been through and where it is going. I have written several times that we have been through a rough patch as a science. Our federal government is clearly at odds with environmental activists of all kinds. It is my hope that CMOS members will agree with me that CMOS is not about activism, but rather we are the authoritative voice on the hard sciences of meteorology and oceanography. Since these are at the very nucleus of climate science, I think it fair to say we are viewed as part of the problem by our federal political leaders. This is compounded by the fact that without some sort of scientific foundation, the activists are utterly without credibility. Our current government is very adept at controlling the flow of information and so we can easily imagine their tactics in this regard. Our colleagues who work directly under their control are very discouraged. They are declining to be involved with CMOS activities for the first time in the over four decades of our existence. Indeed CMOS would be a much smaller and less influential organisation without their enormous contribution over the years. Government scientists are starting to think of volunteer work with CMOS as a direct conflict with their responsibilities in their day jobs. They are unfortunately correct. One of CMOS' goals is to keep Canadian society informed of developments in our field that are of importance to them. It seems the current government's goals are the opposite.
The good news is that this can't last forever. As the effects of climate change become more obvious to more people, I am certain our science will be put back on track in this country. In the meantime, at the suggestion of many of our members, we are embarking upon a long-term media strategy to engage the public directly. Our goal is to inform them positively of the good work we do, why we do it and why it is important to them.
In addition, they need to know that Canada's contribution to our science at the international level is at the very highest levels of quality and productivity. With this in mind the CMOS Council recently discussed a more active role for our Scientific Committee. It seems clear that, as part of our goal of informing the public, the Society needs to discuss the science behind issues of interest to the media and to formulate a consensus of the most knowledgeable of our members in those particular branches of our field. The idea would be to add significantly to the postings of CMOS position statements to our web site so that any of our members would be able to relay the consensus of Canada's top researchers to the media. I have written in a previous column of our relatively new links with the Science Media Centre of Canada, a non-profit organisation that helps journalists report on science issues, but it is my hope that individual members will also take the initiative with local media whenever possible. In my view this is one of the most important things we can do in the current circumstances to advance meteorology and oceanography in Canada. It is a job that no organisation can do better than CMOS.
CMOS is also extremely pleased to announce the creation of a Special Interest Group for the Arctic. This initiative was led by Martin Taillefer and recent CMOS President David Fissel. To quote from their proposal, it will "serve as a focus for CMOS interests in the Arctic and Northern regions and act as an advisory body to the CMOS Council on matters related to the North. It will provide a forum for public, private, academic and even northern communities to work in support of Northern issues specifiy related to meteorology, oceanography and the environment. The group will also be a forum to facilitate the publishing of materials and for the creation of a special track for the discussion of Northern environmental issues and the presentation of the results of scientific research at the Annual CMOS Congress". CMOS bylaws require a minimum number of supporting members for the creation of a Special Interest Group and this was easily met in a very short time. As there is considerable interest in this important topic, we all look forward to following their activities in the years to come.
Special Interest Groups are perhaps an under-utilised way of concentrating our talents on particular issues within our science. We are over eight hundred members scattered mostly across Canada, but also in other countries.
What better way to coordinate efforts, organise workshops and Congress sessions, engage in public outreach and simply discuss results, theories and techniques with other like-minded professionals? They also provide an efficient mechanism for the Council to consult with groups of members on specific topics. I would encourage members to consider organising more of them.
As always, feedback is welcome.
CMOS President / Président de la SCMO
(CMOS Bulletin SCMO December / décembre 2012)
Friends and colleagues:
I hope you all had an enjoyable, relaxing and maybe even productive summer. As I write this in late August there are the usual signs around my university office of things starting to gear up for a new year: many students asking questions about upcoming courses, professors scurrying around trying to decode online grant-application procedures, etc. It is clear we are heading into a very busy time of year. As is usual in the October version of this column, I would like to remind you all not to overlook the renewal of your CMOS membership. CMOS begins the process of reminding you at this time of year and many members do not actually get around to it until well into the new year. Obtaining the member's discount on the Congress registration fee is really the latest and perhaps most forceful reminder. Let me add that it has never been easier to renew (online with a few clicks) than it is these days, so I would urge you to do it now.
Perhaps not surprisingly our membership numbers last year were down about 5% compared to previous years. It was indeed a difficult year for many of us. So I would ask you all to try to recruit new members, particularly student members who may benefit the most. There are many advantages to membership, including the reduced Congress registration referred to, as well as the Bulletin, our accreditation programme, a chance to network and exchange ideas with other Canadians in our field, but most important perhaps is to support the promotion of meteorology and oceanography in an increasing number of fora, including direct engagement with the public.
Across the country CMOS members participate in organising science fairs, funding prizes and workshops, hosting presentations on meteorology and oceanography, including the CMOS tour speaker. We lobby government and issue policy statements on climate change and CMOS members are at the forefront of all aspects of our field internationally. We must work to ensure that CMOS remains the leading voice in Canada on topics relating to our science.
Please help us to get the word out. A slide show on the Society can be found at
Please send the link to your younger colleagues and tell them about the Society, as well as your experience in it. I am sure they will make contacts at CMOS that will be valuable to them throughout their careers, as we all have.
CMOS President / Président de la SCMO
(CMOS Bulletin SCMO October / octobre 2012)
Friends and colleagues:
Friends and colleagues:
This issue of the CMOS Bulletin SCMO will go to press shortly before the CMOS Congress gets under way in Montreal. We are looking forward to a busy and rewarding week at the combined CMOS/AMS Congress 2012, with an exciting scientific program, many interesting exhibits, excellent plenary and public talks and very enjoyable social events. The Local Arrangements Committee, chaired by Louis Lefaivre, and the Scientific Program Committee led by Pierre Gauthier and Bruce Telfeyan, along with a dedicated team of volunteers have been devoting many days and hours over the past two years to making the Congress an outstanding event.
The 2013 Congress in Saskatoon will once again be a joint Congress with the Canadian Geophysical Union and the Canadian Water Resources Association, marking another of the joint Conferences with the CGU that have become a tradition every third year following the highly successful examples in previous years. We are looking forward to having the CWRA as an additional partner for the 2013 Congress. Preparations for it are already well under way under the leadership of Craig Smith as Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee, Geoff Strong, Rod Blais and Bob Halliday as Co-Chairs of the Scientific Program Committee.
The Annual General Meeting at the CMOS Congress will mark the transition of the CMOS Exectutive to the Montreal Centre. I take the opportunity of writing this last column as President of CMOS to sincerely thank all of the outgoing Executive members for their dedicated service to CMOS. David Fissel will step down as Past President, having completed terms as Vice-president and President. Sophie Johannessen, Jane Eert and Rich Pawlowicz will end their three-year terms as Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer. Charles Lin will end his term as Councillor-at-Large. It has been a very rewarding privilege to work with them. I thank them especially for their help and advice over the past year that I have been President of CMOS.
I will have the privilege of welcoming Peter Bartello in his new role as the President of CMOS with the symbolic presentation of his Presidential medallion during the banquet at the CMOS Congress. He will bring with him the new members of the CMOS Executive who have been elected at the Annual General Meeting, continuing the CMOS tradition of three-year terms for CMOS Centres to host the Executive of the Society. I have valued highly Peter's help and advice over the past year in his role as Vice-president and I am looking forward to serving under his leadership for the next year in my role as Past-President of CMOS.
And now, over to you Peter....
Outgoing CMOS President Président sortant de la SCMO
It is indeed a pleasure to be in a position to help advance the important initiatives begun by last year's executive under the leadership of Norman McFarlane and David Fissel before him, while continuing to lean heavily on the wise guidance provided by our executive director, Ian Rutherford. I would like to add my thanks to the members of the executive who are stepping down this year. I am sure we will find other ways for them to continue their strong contribution to the Society. I would also like to thank Norm for his year as President. He has been a friend and mentor for me for decades and last year was certainly no exception. I also welcome new members of the executive: André Giguère (Recording Secretary) , David Huard (Corresponding Secretary), Nacéra Chergui (Treasurer) and Pierre Gauthier (Vice-President), all from the Montréal area, as well as Tetjana Ross (councillor-at-large) from Dalhousie University. I look forward to working with them and those who will be continuing in their current roles.
As I write this in late April, I suppose I now feel the same way as many CMOS Vice-Presidents have before me. In the last year, I have realized that the perspective from my day job is an incomplete one. By getting involved with CMOS, I have been exposed to the full range of what our science does and the important role it plays in Canadian society. Our science includes, without exaggeration, almost all of modern science and its subject matter could not be of more practical importance to all of us living on earth. Unlike some previous CMOS Vice-Presidents, however, I feel a sense of gloom at this moment. The current federal ruling party does not hide that it thinks that government ought to be smaller, do less, and that Canadians should rethink how to finance activities government used to undertake. Without arguing the merits of this, it appears to be leading to considerable short-term damage to our community since government has traditionally played such a central role in leading it. If there is to be a radical reorganization of the way our science is carried out, there needs to be sufficient lead-time (and resources) to plan a smooth transition. This is particularly important on the research side if we are to retain the highly-qualified human resources built up over these last years of CFCAS funding.
The near future will very probably bring new challenges and may well require some important decisions, not only from the Society, but from many of its members individually. At the very top of the CMOS web site and in every issue of the CMOS Bulletin SCMO it says "The Society exists for the advancement of meteorology and oceanography in Canada". How can we best use our rather limited resources to accomplish this? As the new executive members roll up their sleeves, I would like to invite feedback from the membership on this important question.
Peter Bartello Incoming CMOS
President Nouveau président de la SCMO
(CMOS Bulletin SCMO June / juin 2012)
Friends and colleagues:
The 46th CMOS Congress, held jointly with the 21st AMS Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction and the 25th AMS Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting, promises to be another excellent congress with all of the ingredients that we have come to expect from previous congresses: a scientific program featuring exciting and important new research work, many exhibitor booths informing of new developments, activities, and services related to meteorology and oceanography in Canada, plenary and public lectures by leading researchers and specialists that highlight new and emerging topics and activities, special side events such as the Teachers' Day that promote educational ideas and activities. Finally, but just as important as these, are the social activities that celebrate and reward achievement and bring our community together. Add to this the abundant opportunities for informal chance meetings with friends and colleagues that often only happen at conferences but are so important for networking and establishing personal interactions that are the critical ingredients for the collaboration and cooperation that underpins so many successful activities and achievements in modern science. When you receive this issue of the Bulletin it will still be possible to register to attend, and you will find it a very rewarding event. Please visit the Congress Web site (www.cmos.ca/congress2012/index. htm) to register and learn more about the Congress. I thank Louis Lefaivre, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee, Pierre Gauthier, Chair of the Scientific Program Committee, their committee colleagues and the large number of volunteers who have been working hard for most of the last two years to make CMOS 2012 a success. I hope to see you during May 29 to June 1 at the CMOS Congress in Montreal!
Some recent discussions with my colleagues on the CMOS Executive made me realize that there are many CMOS activities and services that I, like perhaps many CMOS members, have overlooked or are unaware of even after being a CMOS member for many years. The CMOS web site (http://www.cmos.ca/) is packed with information on the many facets and activities of CMOS, most of it available in both official languages. You will, of course, find links to 2012 Congress web site there by clicking on the link to that topic right near the top of the home page. In addition you will find the opening pages of the web site for the 2013 Congress in Saskatoon, now under construction. That event will be a joint Congress with the Canadian Geophysical Union and the Canadian Water Resources Association, following on from previous very successful joint congresses, most recently the 2010 Congress in Ottawa. You will also find links to pages displaying highlights and photos of recent Congresses. Following down from "Congresses" on the home page there are links to informative pages on a wide range of topics which answer almost any question concerning CMOS that one can think of and provide an abundance of information on other related topics as well, including postings on employment opportunities in meteorology and oceanography that are easily accessed by clicking on the "Help or Employment Wanted" link. Visitors to the web site who would like information on CMOS sponsorship of meetings or workshops can find it by clicking on the "Policy and Position Statements" link and scrolling down to "Policy on Sponsoring of Conferences and Workshops". Clicking on that will display a page that provides detailed information on this topic.
Many pages could be devoted to discussing what can be found at the CMOS web site. I leave to the reader the pleasure of exploring it at their leisure. All of this is the result of the efforts of our CMOS webmaster, Bob Jones, over many years in maintaining the CMOS web site as an up to date and indispensable service to our community, including partner groups such as CNC-SCOR, and the Private Sector area whose pages can also be accessed from the home page of the CMOS web site. Don't fail to visit the Photos pages which include the wonderful galleries of historical photos that Bob has devoted many hours to assembling. This collection has grown steadily since it was first begun in response to a suggestion by Susan Woodbury, who is a former CMOS President and currently continues to serve as Chair of the Fellows Committee. It has served as an important piece of "community glue" that draws many groups, not just MTs, oceanographers and researchers, toward CMOS. Many thanks, Bob, for your abiding efforts and enthusiasm!
I will end this brief overview by noting that, for CMOS members, there is yet another web site world that can be explored by entering the "Membership Renewal and other Members' Services" section using your membership name and password. This allows you to enter the Members-only secure web site, (https://www1.cmos.ca). This was first created in 2003 but has since been much modified by CMOS office staff, particularly Ian Rutherford, Richard Asselin, and Caroline Cheng so that it is now a fairly unique facility that has also been used to provide services to third parties who have chosen to make use of the CMOS expertise and capabilities notably for major Congresses such as the 2010 IGAC Conference in Halifax and the upcoming Quadrennial Ozone Symposium. In addition to links for a range of services, including, membership renewals, registering and submitting abstracts for Congresses and other CMOS sponsored meetings, you can also read current and past issues of Atmosphere-Ocean and the CMOS Bulletin as well as a range of other CMOS publications and reports.
I will now turn to a different but abidingly important topic. When you receive this issue of the Bulletin the mandate of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) to act as an agency for Federal research funding will have ended. Over the last decade CFCAS has issued more than $100 million in research grants and more than doubled their impact through the partnerships between universities, government research groups and private sector partners. This has produced many outstanding research achievements, facilitated development of research infrastructure in Canada and produced a large cadre of highly qualified personnel. The ending of the CFCAS mandate marks a significant diminishing of the level and scope of support for climate and atmospheric research that has not been replaced through new programs from NSERC and other Canadian sources of research funding. The impacts of this are beginning to be realized. Many of the CFCAS funded research networks that fostered the aforementioned highly successful partnerships have wrapped up their activities. Many highly qualified early and mid-career scientists in the fields of climate and atmospheric sciences are seeking and finding employment outside of Canada. Some key research facilities that received critical support from CFCAS are facing the prospect of curtailing or ceasing their operations in the face of difficulties in securing needed funding in the much more restrictive funding environment that now exists in Canada. A much-publicized example at the time of writing is the recently announced closing on April 30, 2012 of the year-round operations of the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in Eureka, Nunavut. This facility, which has been operated by the Canadian Network for Detection of Atmospheric Change (CANDAC) with a substantial contribution to its funding from CFCAS, must cease its year-round operations because CANDAC has not been able to secure the modest amount of funding needed (approximately $1.5 million per year) to permit it to continue a year-round program especially during the winter period.
PEARL is a unique facility that has been making key measurements and accumulating information on air quality, ozone, and climate change since 2005. It has developed links and partnerships with many international programs and networks that have measurement and research activities that focus on detecting and understanding changes in the high Arctic environment. Its measurement and analysis activities during the winter-spring of 2010-11 played a key role in detecting and analyzing the largest ozone hole ever detected over the Arctic. Stratospheric temperatures reached record lows in the Spring of 2011 giving rise to chemical depletion of ozone that for the first time in the history of Arctic measurements was comparable to that which has been observed over Antarctica. Given its critical high Arctic location and unique capacity to operate during the Polar night, cessation of year-round operations at PEARL leaves a critical gap in observations and research activities at a time when the rapid environmental changes are occurring in the high Arctic. Although the Federal Government has committed to establishing the High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay, 1300 km south of the PEARL site, it will not become operational until 2017 and, given its much more southerly location, it will not replace the unique capacity of the PEARL site. Permitting this time and space gap to develop is very short-sighted and starkly at variance with the Northern Strategy of the Federal Government which, on its official web site, states that "World-leading Arctic science and technology underpin the Northern Strategy and help ensure sound decision-making". (http://www.northernstrategy.gc.ca). Interested readers may find more information on PEARL at http://www.candac.ca.
CMOS President Président de la SCMO
(CMOS Bulletin SCMO April / avril 2012)
Friends and colleagues:
I am writing this in the early days of January. I take this opportunity to wish all CMOS members a happy and healthy new year, and to remind you to renew your membership if you have not already done so. To those readers who are not members I encourage you to consider becoming a member of CMOS. New and continuing members alike, please consider making a donation. CMOS is a registered charity and able to issue receipts for donations made to the Society. The donations page on the CMOS web site (www.cmos.ca/donationse) provides information on ways to make charitable donations to CMOS. The coming year will be an eventful one for CMOS. The 46th CMOS Congress will take place from May 29th to June 1st 2012 in Montréal, jointly with the 21st AMS Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction and the 25th AMS Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting. This promises to be another outstanding Congress where exciting and important leading Canadian work in meteorology and oceanography and related topics will be presented. Please visit the Congress Web site (www.cmos.ca/congress2012/index.htm) to see important dates and get information about the Congress. Some of these critical dates, such as the deadline for submission of abstracts, are rapidly approaching. Please plan to attend and encourage the participation of your colleagues and students. Also, encourage your students to apply for a scholarship and consider nominating a colleague and a student for a CMOS prize or award. CMOS members will have received information sheets for prizes and awards with the December issue of the Bulletin and for scholarships with the current issue. This information can also be found posted on the CMOS web site.
Some of the readers of this column may have followed the Canadian and international media coverage of the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban (COP 17) and the subsequent announcement by Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment, of Canada's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol. These events motivated me to review the public statements and communications on the topic of climate change that CMOS has made over the past decade, and, in partnership with other societies, the letter to Members of Parliament in November, 2009 on the eve of the Copenhagen Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). These statements and letter are posted on the CMOS web site and are publicly accessible from the home page. I encourage readers of this column to read them if they have not already done so. They assert the reality and increasing rapidity of climate change resulting from human activities. They stress the importance of understanding the science of climate change and variability to develop effective programs and policies on climate change, including addressing the commitments laid out in the Kyoto Protocol. They affirm the validity of the assessments undertaken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The statements in 2003 and 2006 note that the Kyoto Protocol would, if fully implemented, slow the increase in the atmospheric concentration of Carbon dioxide but not halt it, and point to the need for further stronger actions later on to achieve that goal.
All of these statements and communications have relied on the understanding provided by the best available climate science. Advances in the scientific understanding of anthropogenic climate change over the past decade have reinforced the earlier conclusions and led to an improved understanding of how the times-scales of the climate system interact with those of the forcing agents, notably emissions of greenhouse gases, that are responsible for anthropogenic climate change. Canadian climate scientists have been at the forefront of this research. It has led to the recognition of the differing roles of the greenhouse gases with relatively short life-times in the atmosphere, and those with much longer life-times, notably carbon dioxide, in producing the warming associated with anthropogenic climate change. While curtailing the accumulation of the shorter-lived gases may limit the peak anthropogenic warming, the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will be responsible for warming effects that may last for centuries, producing effectively irreversible climate change. This understanding has more recently led to the development of new metrics involving cumulative carbon emissions to evaluate the long-term impact of greenhouse gas emissions and modeling methodologies for determining how net global emissions must evolve to effectively limit the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.
The Copenhagen Accord sought to control greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to limit global mean temperature increases to 2oC to prevent dangerous effects of climate change from occurring. However, recent climate science results suggest that this threshold warming will likely be exceeded in the 21st century. Maintaining the 2oC limit will require a rapid reduction and eventual cessation of net global carbon dioxide emissions over the next few decades followed by a net reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide through the later decades of the 21st century. Such a reduction could not be achieved via the natural slow mechanisms by which atmospheric carbon dioxide is taken up over land surfaces and by the oceans. However, greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, have continued at an increasing rate in the past decade with the result that the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is now higher than it has been over the past eight hundred thousand years of Earth history. The recently released IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation concludes, among others things, that there is observational evidence that there have been changes in some extreme weather events since 1950 due to anthropogenic influences including increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. For example, it is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures on the global scale.
The Durban Conference produced an agreement of the participants (including Canada) to enter into a treaty to address global warming, the terms of which are to be produced by 2015 with the treaty to become effective in 2020. The Kyoto Protocol is to continue in effect in the interim but without the commitment of some of the countries, including Canada, that are responsible for a large part of the accumulated emissions that have produced the rapid increase in carbon dioxide over the last century.
In light of the current understanding of anthropogenic climate change, the Canadian decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol is a very sobering development. Although acceptance of the reality of anthropogenic climate change by the Canadian public has increased over the past decade, improved public understanding and awareness of its potentially harmful effects on human society and life on Earth is fundamental to implementing effective actions to address the human causes and long-term impacts of climate change. Consistent with its mandate to advance meteorology and oceanography in Canada, CMOS must continue to play a leading role in bringing about an improved public understanding of climate change. Our public communications are but one aspect of this role. Our tour speakers, supporting and encouraging educational outreach activities, and volunteer activities by CMOS members in Local Centres, are all very important contributions to public education. For their efforts and leadership, I thank the CMOS members who volunteer their time and energy to engage in these activities.
CMOS President Président de la SCMO
(CMOS Bulletin SCMO February / février 2012)
I am writing
this column a few days after returning from the Open Science Conference
of the World Climate Research Programme. This was the first WCRP - wide
conference to be held in over a decade. It was very large (over 1900
participants) but well organized with a strong focus on science. In
contrast to the usual large scientific conferences that may include
many sessions or symposia on different topics that in many cases are
organized in a largely independent manner, this WCRP OSC was organized
so as to bring together diverse research communities from around the
world to present a comprehensive overview of climate research, identify
overarching research challenges and facilitate strategic input into key
scientific assessments. Perhaps more important, this OSC was held in
the context of the, now widely accepted, understanding that human
activities are now a dominant agent of climate change. The need for
understanding and predicting of the evolution of climate system in its
complexity and diversity is now critical for reducing vulnerability to
high impact weather and climate events, and sustaining life.
highlighted many accomplishments as well as issues and challenges for
the future in weather and climate science and applications. For
example, great progress has been made in weather and climate modelling
over the last half century. Models have increased in both complexity
and accuracy and are now the main tool for predicting changes in the
climate system that may result from human activities. However, much
remains to be done. Although the dramatic increases in computing power
that have occurred in the past half century have been a major factor in
the progress of weather and climate modelling, there are remaining
major challenges for climate modelling, such as those associated with
the trade-off between accuracy (higher resolution and better
representation of small scale features and processes in space and time)
and complexity (modelling many components of the earth system in a
coupled way, including biogeochemical interactions between ecosystems
and the physical climate system, with widely different temporal and It
has become increasingly clear that these modelling challenges can not
be considered in isolation from each other and diverse approaches to
dealing with them are needed and being explored more extensively than
ever. For example, multi-component Earth-system models of intermediate
complexity (EMICs), though simplified in their treatment of the
component processes, have demonstrated their usefulness for addressing
many key issues such as the implications of the nearly irreversible (on
human time scales) impact of changes in atmospheric CO2 on
mitigation choices (plenary presentation by Susan Solomon).
The OSC also
highlighted the importance and current threats to long-term high
quality observations of weather and climate variables as a fundamental
requirement for monitoring and understanding changes in climate. The
Earth is now observed more completely and extensively than at any other
time in human history. However, many of these observations suffer from
inadequacies in quality and continuity that limit their usefulness for
monitoring long-term changes in climate. Satellite observations have
become a major part of the Earth observing system. However, critical
gaps may emerge when the current earth observing satellites reach the
end of their lifetimes. This concern was noted in talks presented at
the OSC and is discussed in a recent informative Nature News report:
quality controlled ground based measurements are also a critical
component of the earth observing system that is needed to monitor
climate change. These systems not only complement satellite
measurements but are also critical for validating satellite
measurements. Thus maintaining and enhancing groundbased measurements
is of increasing importance in light of the uncertainties associated
with future satellite measurements. (see the article on measurement of
ozone profiles in the Bulletin on page 198).
One of the
more sobering presentations during the OSC drew attention to the impact
of the rapid increase in the population of the Earth in the last half
century (presentation by Eugenia Kalnay, session B9). The population of
the earth has recently (perhaps sometime during the OSC) surpassed the
seven billion level and has more than doubled since 1950. Current
reasonable projections of growth suggest that it will exceed nine
billion by 2050. Although improvements in sanitation and disease
control (the use of antibiotics) has been a major factor in this
growth, the increased agricultural production that has been associated
with the use of fossil fuels has also been a major factor. However,
this rapid increase in human population is rapidly drawing down natural
capital (grain production is flattening, urbanization and industrial
farming practices are destroying forests and other ecosystems.) and is
likely not sustainable. Thus the drivers of population growth are
intimately connected with climate change as well. However, population
growth has perhaps not hitherto received the attention it deserves in
the climate science community.
who are interested, many of the presentations at the WCRP OSC are on
line at the conference web site:
not least, I wish all CMOS members and readers of the Bulletin a joyous
holiday season and a happy and healthy new year.
(CMOS Bulletin SCMO December / décembre 2011)
As I write this column there are only a few weeks of summer remaining in Canada. I hope that you have been able to enjoy the unusually warm summer season that occurred in many parts of Canada, though not unusually so in Victoria, BC where I live. However, August was, as usual, pleasant and warm here in Victoria and I was able to spend some enjoyable time reading the August issue of the CMOS Bulletin SCMO while sitting in my back yard. Once again, that issue illustrated the vigour and diversity of meteorology and oceanography in Canada. Those of you who were able to attend the CMOS Congress this year will likely have its successes still quite fresh in memory and have appreciated being reminded of it by the reportage on it in the August issue. That reportage, in combination with the summary of key events in the 140 years of the Meteorological Service of Canada, is an edifying reminder to me of the vigour and abiding value and importance of meteorology and oceanography in Canada. Our scientific activities in government, universities and the private sector have flourished and many valuable and critically important services to Canadian Society that have flowed from them. Tom McElroy's article on the Canadian Ozone Mapping Web site describes an apt example among many that could be listed. Meteorology and Oceanography will continue to flourish in Canada, in large part sustained and bolstered by the activities and efforts of CMOS members, notwithstanding the vagaries associated with events that may at times present impediments. Once again I thank Paul-André Bolduc for his efforts as editor of the Bulletin. I think you will agree that he has again assembled an interesting and informative collection of articles and news items in this issue.
In mid-August I informed CMOS members of actions taken by the CMOS Executive to respond to the recent staff reductions within Environment Canada. Many of you may have read my communication on this, posted as a news item on the CMOS web site, and the letter sent to Minister Kent in June, 2011, also posted in the members' services section of the CMOS web site.
This letter expressed our concern in regard to the impact of the current and planned staff reductions on key programs and asked the Minister to clarify how he views the long-term plan for science within Environment Canada. To date, no reply to this letter has been received. In the meantime, further staff reductions have been widely publicized. I requested your thoughts and suggestions concerning further steps that we may take to more publicly question government actions that may be detrimental to the activities of CMOS members and Canadians in general. I am pleased to have received several valuable responses so far. These included expressions of concern about the possible impact on services and products, for example the ongoing availability of quality controlled compilations of weather and climate data that are used by professionals who work outside of Environment Canada. Some respondents noted that, although not yet explicitly announced, similar cost-cutting actions are likely to take place in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and other scientific programs within the Federal Government. CMOS includes both meteorologists and oceanographers, and these respondents, while applauding our actions to date, urged that we adopt a broader perspective in future communications to address concerns about the impact of government cutbacks in meteorological, oceanographic and related research and services.
Reductions of highly qualified staff who are engaged in scientific research, technical development and maintenance of long-term monitoring programs, though perhaps effective as near-term cost-cutting measures, frequently have detrimental longer-term effects. In combination with reductions in support for university based research, they will entail the loss of critical expertise and handicap research and services that will be increasingly needed over the coming decades. Many of the affected programs may be unique in their capacity to address issues of importance to the present and future well-being of Canadians. Such actions are also inconsistent with the Science and Technology Strategy of the Federal Government. The Executive summary to the 2009 report on progress of the S&T Strategy, available on the Industry Canada web site at
"Scientific discoveries and new technologies are essential to building a dynamic economy. This is, perhaps, even more important in difficult economic times. By investing in S&T, the Government of Canada is creating a stronger economy, future opportunities for jobs, an improved quality of life and other benefits for Canadians. New knowledge and technologies will help us meet many of the challenges of the 21st century.." .
It goes on to identify environmental science and technologies as a priority area for enhanced investment and activity.
I encourage you to continue to contribute your thoughts and ideas. They will provide valuable input in discussions on this topic in upcoming deliberations of the CMOS Executive and Council. We may have initiated further CMOS actions by the time this issue of the Bulletin has been published. However, we are mindful of the need to continue to monitor, question and express concern on behalf of CMOS in regard to government actions that may have detrimental effects on the activities of CMOS members and, in general, substantially diminish capacity to carry out important research activities and provide meteorological and oceanographic services to the Canadian Public.
SCMO October /
Friends and colleagues:
The annual Congress is the major yearly event for CMOS. For me it has always been something to look forward to when I have been able to attend. This year the Congress in Victoria was a great success. Over 500 people attended and over 450 papers were presented. The Victoria Conference Centre is an outstanding venue. The organization and operation were flawless and the program was excellent with outstanding plenary speakers, public lectures and scientific sessions that covered the breadth of topics within the Congress theme of "Ocean, Atmosphere and the Changing Pacific".
For me the 45th CMOS Congress certainly lived up to my expectations of it as a highlight event of the year. It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of the hard work and dedication of the large team of volunteers and the Local Arrangements Committee, chaired by Nathan Gillett. The excellence and success of the program were largely because of the efforts of Bill Merryfield and the Scientific Program Committee that he chaired.
Next year the 46th CMOS Congress will be held from May 29 to June 1 in Montreal. CMOS 2012 will be held jointly with the 25th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting and the 21st Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction of the American Meteorological Society. Holding of these AMS conferences in Montreal in conjunction with the 2012 CMOS Congress recognizes Canadian leadership for many decades in numerical weather prediction and related fields. Its theme will be "The Changing Environment and its Impact on Climate, Ocean and Weather services". Louis Lefaivre is the chair of the Local Arrangements Committee and Pierre Gauthier is the chair of the Scientific Program Committee. Preparations are well under way for what promises to be another excellent CMOS Congress.
Looking farther ahead, the 47th Congress will be held in Saskatoon jointly with the Canadian Geophysical Union (CGU) and the Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA). The planning for CMOS 2013 is well under way under the leadership of Craig Smith as chair of the LAC and SPC Co-Chairs Geoff Strong (CMOS), Rod Blais (CGU) and Russ Boals (CWRA).
Several of the plenary talks and papers in the scientific sessions at the 45th CMOS Congress dealt with understanding and predicting changes in climate and associated impacts. As I write this column, the importance of such research activities are put into context for me by the flooding in Manitoba that is a daily news headline. Major flood occurrences such as this may be associated with a sequence of weather events that are individually unusual or occur in unusual combinations. Their occurrence underlines the importance of being able to quantify the causes of hitherto rare weather event combinations and anticipate their impact. Such "event attribution" studies are now being carried out by a few climate research groups in the world but they place strong demands on both the availability of long- term observations as well as on quantitative modeling and analysis capabilities. An interesting example is discussed in a recently published study of the flooding events that occurred in England in the summer of 2000 (Pall et al., Nature, vol. 470, 17 February 2011) . That study suggested that the risk of floods in England and Wales has increased substantially as a result of the effects of 20th Century anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. This conclusion is broadly consistent with results from other studies that have been published in recent years. They suggest that, while it is not possible to ascribe any single high impact weather event or a particular combination of them to climate change, the increasing incidence of high impact weather events is a feature of the global climate change that is now occurring. However, there is still much uncertainty in quantifying the changing frequency of such events. When viewed in this context, reductions in support and capacity for weather and climate research appear to be, at least, short-sighted. The well publicized recent and anticipated further substantial reductions of scientific staff at the Federal Government level, combined with reduced Federal funding for climate and atmospheric research, are a cause for concern for CMOS and for Canadians.
(CMOS Bulletin SCMO August / août 2011)
David Fissel, CMOS Past President / président passé de la SCMO
Friends and colleagues:
This issue of the CMOS Bulletin SCMO will arrive just as 45th Annual CMOS Congress gets under way in Victoria B. C. Our Annual Congress promises to be a busy week and a great time to learn from the hundreds of papers presented and through the many other events being held. Our congress chairs, Nathan Gillett and Bill Merryfield, along with the dozens of volunteers and CMOS staff are making this Congress into a memorable one for CMOS.
In late May of 2012, the CMOS Congress will move to Montreal under the leadership of Louis Lefaivre, Local Arrangements Committee Chair and Pierre Gauthier, Scientific Program Committee Chair. The 46th Annual CMOS Congress will be conducted jointly with the 25th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting and the 21st Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction organized in cooperation with the American Meteorological Society.
A year has passed by since I took on the role of President of CMOS in June of 2010 in Ottawa. The year has been a very rewarding experience with CMOS becoming stronger with improved financial reserves, a vibrant membership base, a wide range of successful program activities, and an impetus for change and growth for our scientific journal Atmosphere-Ocean.
I will pass the President's gavel to Vice-President Norm McFarlane during the CMOS evening Banquet at the Victoria Congress, as part of a tradition going back to the beginnings of CMOS. I would like to thank our CMOS Executive over this past year including Norm, Past President Bill Crawford, Recording Secretary Sophie Johannessen, Corresponding Secretary Jane Eert and Treasurer Rich Pawlowicz, as well as our councillors-at-large Kent Johnson, John Parker and Charles Lin for their exemplary efforts over this past year.
Norm and Peter Bartello, of McGill University, our nominee for Vice-President, will lead us towards a transition in the location of the National Executive from Victoria to Montreal by mid-2012. Sophie, Jane, Rich and I will continue on the executive for one more year and we will be joined by new Councillors at Large Denis Gilbert and Kim Strong. Finally, my special thanks go to my predecessor as president, Bill Crawford, (presently Past President) along with John Parker and Kent Johnston, who will depart the executive in June.
And now, over to Norm McFarlane….
Dear Friends and Colleagues
Over the last year of participating in activities and actions of CMOS as Vice President I have had a "front-row" view of the demands and challenges that the President must face. I am pleased to thank David Fissel for his efforts and achievements in serving as CMOS President. David has served CMOS with wisdom and dedication that I can only aspire to emulate in the coming year. I will certainly need to rely on his advice and insights in his role as Past President. I echo David's thanks to Bill Crawford for his contributions in that role over the past year and add that I have also benefited from Bill's mentoring in learning and preparing for the challenges of being President of CMOS.
Being Vice-President has also given me a new appreciation of the profoundly important role of the Executive Office in the life of CMOS. It is very reassuring to know that we can continue to rely on the experience and dedication of Ian Rutherford as Executive Director and Richard Asselin as Director of Publications. Ian's wise advice and direction are critical underpinning for decisions and actions of the CMOS Executive and Council. In addition, he capably represents CMOS and acts on our behalf in a wide range important discussions and interactions with other institutions, agencies, professional and learned societies.
During the past year Richard has provided critical supervision and support for the successful transition of the publication of Atmosphere-Ocean to the Taylor and Francis publishing firm. He is now spear-heading efforts to increase the numbers of manuscripts submitted for publication and the impact of Atmosphere-Ocean. This is an important effort that will also engage my attention during the coming year. Under the capable editorship of Paul-André Bolduc, the CMOS Bulletin SCMO continues to be an excellent and informative publication featuring interesting, high quality contributions.
I have come to appreciate Qing Liao's quick, helpful, and courteous responsiveness as the Office Manager. Bob Jones continues to provide dedicated service as the CMOS Webmaster. CMOS could not function, let alone continue to be a vital Society, without the dedicated and able service provided by the Executive Office.
I am looking forward to working with my long-time friend and colleague, Peter Bartello, nominee for CMOS Vice President. I am also anticipating the continued pleasure of working with executive members Rich Pawlowicz, Jane Eert, Sophia Johannessen, and Charles Lin and with newly nominated Councillers-at-Large, Kim Strong and Denis Gilbert.
In the coming year CMOS will be engaged with some issues of great importance to members and their professional and academic communities. One of these is the impact that may be associated with the expiring of Federal Government support of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS). Over the past ten years CFCAS has been Canada's leading agency for supporting university-based research on weather and climate. During this period CFCAS has enabled many notable leading edge research activities to flourish in Canada.. CMOS is the founding member of CFCAS and has some CFCAS governance responsibilities as well. Many CMOS members, as well as their national and international colleagues, have been involved in CFCAS-funded projects and activities. The vital role that CFCAS has played in Canadian research is in jeopardy if its mandate is not renewed or replaced by an equivalent source of reliable and sustained funding.
As I write this column, preparations are nearing completion for the CMOS 2011 Congress in the Victoria Conference Centre. With the excellent local arrangements and an exciting program, this promises to be another outstanding CMOS Congress. I echo David's thanks to Nathan Gillett and Bill Merryfield and their colleagues in the Local Arrangements Committee and the Scientific Program Committee, as well as the large number of dedicated volunteers who are working to make the Congress a success. I am looking forward to seeing a large number of you, readers of the CMOS Bulletin SCMO, in Victoria in June!
SCMO June /
Friends and colleagues:
A much higher percentage of Canadians than Americans believe that climate change is real, according to a recent polling study carried out by Sustainable Prosperity, a research and policy network at the University of Ottawa (see http://www.sustainableprosperity.ca/article911). The findings of this study include:
1) In Canada, 80 per cent believe in the science behind climate change, compared with 58 per cent in the United States;
2) Canadians expressed a higher degree of willingness to pay for increased production of renewable energy resources than their American counterparts;
3) While most Americans do not support such policy options as cap and trade and carbon taxes, a majority of Canadians indicated that they would support such policy options even if this imposed increased costs of up to $50 per month in energy expenses.
These results are encouraging for CMOS, and our nearly one thousand members, who provide understandings and forecasts in meteorology and oceanography for all Canadians. Just prior to the December 2009 Copenhagen international forum, the CMOS Council endorsed a press release and a letter to all Members of Parliament on the urgency of action on climate change. In June of last year, an important outcome of the 2010 CMOS-CGU Joint Congress was the Statement of Concerns on Climate Change issued by scientists attending the meeting, based on the timely scientific results provided in many papers presented at the Congress.
At present, Dr. Tom Pedersen, Executive Director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, has been addressing the issues of climate change as the 2011 CMOS Tour Speaker through public lectures across Canada. Dr Pedersen has been emphasizing that "global warming caused by human activities is happening, it is scientifically well understood and, it presents a serious challenge to human societies." Along with this profound challenge, Dr. Pedersen is identifying opportunities for us to do things better, through more creativity in our stewardship of our natural environment, and to revitalize our economy while engaging in new, cleaner industrial activities.
CMOS must continue to take a leadership role in raising and explaining the issues of climate change as part of our overall mandate to advance meteorology and oceanography in Canada.
Finally, in the spirit of National Volunteer Week in Canada (April 10-16, 2011), I would like to pay tribute to the hundreds of CMOS members who give their time and energy to advance and promote meteorology and oceanography. CMOS volunteers make up the CMOS Executive and Council, the many CMOS Committees, the many volunteers who organize and operate our Annual Congresses, CMOS members who participate in national and international scientific committees and the executives of local CMOS Centres across Canada. The work of our CMOS volunteers is essential and enriches all of us within CMOS and the larger communities that we serve. Thank you!
SCMO April /
Friends and colleagues:
As I write this article in the first few days of this new year of 2011, we extend our welcome to the Honourable Peter Kent, the new Canadian Minister of the Environment. In making the announcement of Mr. Kent's appointment, the Prime Minister highlighted the need for "... advancing efforts to protect Canada's environment and address climate change at home and abroad." In my own opinion, one excellent way for Minister Kent to address climate change would be to provide renewed support for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS). In the ten years since CFCAS was created, it has funded over $117 million for research on air quality and extreme weather, climate models and predictions and maritime conditions. This funding has levered an additional $158 million in cash or in-kind support, enabling the involvement of many distinguished researchers in the academic community across Canada, 140 federal scientists and a total of 1,200 students and research personnel. The accomplishments of the CFCAS research are most impressive as seen in journal publications and inputs to public policy issues. Renewed support for CFCAS is needed very soon to continue its vital role in contributing towards developing the knowledge required for Canada to effectively address climate change issues.
Atmosphere-ocean interactions are also vital in understanding climate change. Canadian meteorologists and oceanographers are playing a leading role in developing understandings of these very important linkages. Moreover, the importance of oceanography issues in Canada has recently been underscored in the CBC's List of the Top Ten Science Stories for 2010. Of the top stories, three involve the oceans: the Gulf oil spill (number 1), the Neptune Canada underwater observatory deployed in 2010 (number 4) and the Census of Marine Life project (number 10).
The upcoming CMOS Annual Congress in Victoria BC (June 5-9, 2011) provides a great opportunity to hear about the leading edge meteorological and oceanographic research being conducted in Canada on topics described above in addition to many others.
The Call for Papers for the Congress will be closing very soon, so please encourage your friends, colleagues and students to submit abstracts and to register for the Congress. This can be done through the first link ("Congresses") on the CMOS web site.
Our CMOS Council has recently approved an initiative to encourage more papers in our Congresses by highlighting the importance of poster papers. For the 2011 Victoria Congress, we will have ample and prominent space to present more poster papers than at the past Congresses. To recognize the importance of poster papers, three prizes will be awarded for poster papers in Victoria rather than the one prize awarded in past years.
Also, please consider nominating a colleague for a CMOS prize or award. Although the February 15th deadline will be fast approaching by the time that you receive this, there is still an opportunity to nominate candidates for the various prizes or awards. Nominations received by 15 February by the CMOS Executive Director will be forwarded to the CMOS Prizes and Awards Committee. Another date to remember is the March 15 deadline for the nomination of CMOS Fellows.
Finally, I would like to thank Paul-André Bolduc and Dorothy Neale for their excellent work in producing another very interesting volume of six CMOS Bulletin SCMO issues in 2010 and this first new issue for the year 2011. And I wish to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Richard Asselin, CMOS Director of Publications for his leadership in the exciting new changes to our flagship journal, Atmosphere-Ocean and to the Atmosphere-Ocean Co-Editors, Drs. William Hsieh and Guoqi Han, and the highly qualified Technical Editor, Sheila Bourque, Associate Editors and many reviewers of this world-class scientific journal.
SCMO February /
Friends and colleagues:
Canada's Federal Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy, as introduced by the present government in 2007, provides a framework for Canada's S&T policies. The 2009 government policy update Note 1 speaks of "... making Canada a leader in S&T and research and a source of entrepreneurial innovation and creativity" through our Science and Technology programs. As well as the substantial economic benefits realized from S&T, it was stated that "new knowledge and technologies will help us meet many of the challenges of the 21st century - from preserving the quality of the environment to enhancing our health, protecting our safety and security, and managing our energy and natural resources".
The four priority areas identified for Canadian S&T include the Environment and Natural Resources/Energy (in addition to Life Sciences and Information/Communications Technologies). Moreover, within Environment, Water is identified as one of two sub-priorities (in addition to Cleaner Production and Use of Hydrocarbon Fuels) and within Natural Resources/Energy, the Arctic (resource production, climate change adaptation and monitoring) is identified as one of three sub-priorities. In view of these priorities and sub-priorities, science funding for meteorology and oceanography, along with other geophysical scientific disciplines, would be expected to rank high in terms of federal government funding for government and university science and technology programs. However, in my personal view, such expectations have not been met in the federal budgets and programs of 2009 and 2010. We have seen funding reductions in some government science programs and uneven funding in university programs, with cutbacks in some along with some new initiatives.
The mission of CMOS/SCMO is to advance meteorology and oceanography in Canada. We need to continue to highlight the importance of Canadian meteorology, oceanography and the other geophysical disciplines in relation to our national S&T priorities. In 2007, together with the Canadian Geophysical Union, CMOS/SCMO was a founding member of the Canadian Societies for the Geophysical Sciences (CSGS). The CSGS was established to provide a mechanism to link, integrate and coordinate the geophysical sciences in Canada; to provide a voice from the geophysical sciences to government, funding agencies, industry, and to the public; and to provide a way to promote the advancement of the geophysical sciences in Canada. With these goals in mind, we are looking into ways of expanding and strengthening CSGS. The voice of an invigorated CSGS is needed to address the federal S&T policy and funding issues as described above.
Finally let me take this opportunity, on behalf of the CMOS/SCMO Executive, Council and Staff, to wish everybody a happy and safe holiday season and all the best for the New Year.
SCMO December /
Friends and colleagues:
With the onset of autumn (and the hockey season!), many of us are now back into our work and home activities that will take us through the winter holidays and into the New Year. With this in mind, I wish to remind you of the services that CMOS provides to its members (and many others) on a regular and ongoing basis throughout the year.
Perhaps the most prominent is the CMOS/SCMO Annual Congress. The very successful Ottawa Congress in Ottawa this past June (jointly held with the Canadian Geophysical Union) will be followed by the CMOS/SCMO 2011 Congress to be held in beautiful Victoria British Columbia from June 5-9. These congresses provide a great opportunity to present papers with the latest research results and new ideas, and also to network with colleagues from all across Canada and from outside Canada. The size and venue are very conducive to these vital networking activities.
Our CMOS publications also represent "flagship" activities provided by CMOS. This CMOS Bulletin SCMO is an important link to all our members, providing news on our Society's activities, interesting meteorology and oceanography articles and events of interest within Canada and beyond. Our publication, ATMOSPHERE-OCEAN, is undergoing some major changes, as discussed in our last issue of the Bulletin. The recent decisions made at the CMOS/SCMO Annual General Meeting will place ATMOSPHERE-OCEAN on a sustainable path over the foreseeable future. This publication will have expanded contents over the years ahead. As an incentive to our younger colleagues and to attract more publications, we are waiving our page charges for first publications by Canadian or Canadian-based authors.
CMOS /SCMO also serves its members on a local and regional level through the operation of its 14 Centres located across Canada from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and Labrador. These Centres host meetings, often featuring interesting scientific talks, from our members. The Centres also participate in local community events such as high school Science Fairs and in so doing, raise the profile of meteorology and oceanography across the country. The Centres host our CMOS/SCMO Annual Tour Speaker in the winter or spring of each year as well promoting the CNC-SCOR speakers who tour the country in the winter of each year. I encourage our CMOS members to get more involved in our Local Centres. It is a great way to increase the level of activity for meteorology and oceanography in your region and provides opportunities for networking with your peers and colleagues in your region.
Another important CMOS/SCMO activity is the collaborative work we do with other Canadian natural science societies and our involvement in international scientific organizations. I will leave further discussion of this important topic until our next CMOS Bulletin SCMO.
Finally, CMOS/SCMO acts as an effective advocate for meteorological and oceanographic issues on behalf of its members and to inform the general public. In past issues of this Bulletin, you have seen many examples of this, including presentations to public bodies such as the House [of Commons] Committee Finance, and the statements on Climate Change findings from the last Congress. A very recent example of our member advocacy activities is the recent intervention of CMOS/SCMO in dealing with a proposed amendment to the definition of "practice of professional engineering" in the Ontario Professional Engineers Act in the Ontario legislature (described elsewhere in this Bulletin). These changes would have been detrimental to our members and the general public in Ontario. CMOS/SCMO responded to this issue on very short notice: within one week of learning of this in late August, I signed a letter to the Attorney-General of Ontario. This was followed by a letter-writing campaign, in cooperation with other natural scientific societies, led by the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP), which resulted in over 600 letters expressing concern being received by the Ontario Attorney General's Office. In less than two weeks of our first hearing of this matter, an agreement was reached with the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) organization to have the exemption for natural scientists embedded into the Regulations of the Professional Engineers Act of Ontario. Although this issue is particular to the province of Ontario, it is potentially precedent-setting, with implications across Canada for all CMOS/SCMO members.
SCMO October /
Friends and colleagues:
As I write this, the CMOS Congress in Ottawa has recently been completed in June. This year's 2010 Annual Congress, conducted as a joint meeting with the CGU, was a resounding success. Participation rates were very good in terms of conference registrations and scientific papers. Well over 900 people attended the Congress.
The theme of the 2010 Congress was "Our Earth, Our Air, Our Water, OUR FUTURE" (La Terre, l'air et l'eau, NOTRE AVENIR). Within this theme, the Congress featured 794 papers presented. This total represented a healthy 4% increase from the last CMOS-CGU Joint Meeting with the CGU in St. John's NL in 2007.
The Congress also provided a forum for many important meetings, including the NSERC and Argo Townhall Meetings, and an important public lecture by Dr. Vincent Warwick of University Laval. The Congress also featured a well attended and successful Teachers' Day.
One of the highlights for me personally was the four scientific sessions, and a luncheon, on the occasion of the retirement of Professor Lawrence Mysak from McGill University, in celebration of his very distinguished career at McGill and before that, at the University of British Columbia. My first encounter with Lawrence was in the late 1960s, at UBC when I was a physics undergraduate student taking his third year math course. Professor Mysak sparked my interest in oceanography. Over the years he has worked with many outstanding students and colleagues, too numerous to mention, who represent a large part of his legacy to the Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences.
outcome of the Congress
the Statement of Concerns on Climate Change issued by scientists
I would personally like to thank the many dozens of volunteers who made this Congress so successful. In particular, the Local Arrangements Committee, chaired by John Falkingham, did an outstanding job of organizing and operating the conference. As already described, the Scientific Program Committee, headed by Dick Stoddart and Rod Blais, provided an excellent program of scientific papers. The names of all members of these committees, plus the many volunteers during the 2010 CMOS/CGU Meeting are given below. Thank you.
Next year, the CMOS Congress will be held in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia from June 5-9, 2011. Arrangements are already well under way under the leadership of Dr. Nathan Gillett, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee, for what promises to be another important and productive scientific meeting. Please join us in Victoria.
During the 2010 joint meeting, Dr. Spiros Pagiatakis, President of the CGU along with the CGU Executive, met with us. It was agreed that the next joint CMOS/CGU Meeting will be held in Saskatoon on May 27-30, 2013.
On other CMOS matters, our membership numbers have been growing this year with the membership increases being largely in the student and retired membership categories. While the trend to increased membership numbers is encouraging, we need to continue in our efforts to offer more value to members.
We are seeking to improve our linkages between the national executive and office of CMOS with the fourteen CMOS Centres located across Canada. We urge all CMOS members to get involved in the activities of their local Centre and to participate in our Annual Congresses, whenever possible.
And finally, we have made some important decisions on improving the CMOS scientific journal, ATMOSPHERE-OCEAN. ATMOSPHERE-OCEAN will be published in collaboration with the international publishing firm, Taylor-Francis, as described elsewhere in this issue. This decision will place ATMOSPHERE-OCEAN on a sustainable path in which we can expand its contents over the years ahead.
2010 Ottawa Congress Organization
Local Arrangements Committee (LAC)
Scientific Program Committee (SPC)
Rod Blais, Co-Chairs
List of Volunteers
John Anderson - Martha Anderson - Matt Arkett - Richard Asselin - Jane Assini - Ryan Ballingall - Paul Beckwith - Wendy Benjamin - Yvon Bernier - Jorge Urrego Blanco - Mike Brady - Dawn Conway - Allison Croft - Kelly Crowe - Lesley Elliott - Cheryl Falkingham - Irenka Farmilo - Norah Foy - Dave Henderson - John Hollins - Dave Huddlestone - Sergio Ieropoli - Richard Jones - Peter Kimbell - Panagiotis Koumoulas - Harry Lamb - Qing Liao - Andy (Yuehua) Lin - Ann McMillan - Ilona Monahan - Colleen Mortimer - Inès Ng Kam Chan - Lidia Nikitina - Lynn Pogson - Sierra Pope - Jana Ramsay - John Reid - Louise Reid - Amanda Reinwald - Shiliang Shan - Jennifer Smith - Margaret-Anne Stroh - Marty Taillefer - Colleen Turnbull - Anne-Marie Valton - Wesley Van Wychen - Adrienne White - Katherine Wilson - Amir Yadghar
SCMO August /
Bill Crawford, Outgoing President / Président sortant
Friends and colleagues:
We learned early May of the death of Uri Schwarz, the first Executive Director of CMOS, serving from 1982 to 1994, and Executive Director Emeritus since then. I clearly remember his cheerful way of working through any problem that arose and will miss him greatly. We all mourn his passing.
This message will arrive close in time to our annual CMOS Congress, held in Ottawa jointly with the Canadian Geophysical Union. Based on the number of abstracts and sessions, it will be a busy week and a great time to learn of new happenings and to meet new and old colleagues. Our congress chairs, John Falkingham and Dick Stoddart, are busy with final details. Each congress is our major event of the year and we try to move it across the country from year to year. Nathan Gillett and Bill Merryfield of Victoria are well into plans for the 2011 congress, and then we will swing back east to Montréal in 2012.
Congress relies on almost 100 volunteers and CMOS staff to succeed. It is our biggest event as measured by participation, revenue and expenses. It also carries major financial risk. Just one pandemic, terrorism attack anywhere, or even clouds of volcanic dust could leave us with last minute cancellations and major financial loss. During the past years we have built a reserve fund to cover such a loss, allowing CMOS to boldly plan future congresses with a good safety net.
I will pass the President's gavel to David Fissel during the CMOS evening Banquet at congress, as part of a tradition going back to the beginnings of CMOS. Presidents serve on the executive for three years, but only for one year as president; we start a year early as vice-president, and continue another year as past-president. David Fissel will serve as president for a year, and we hope that our incoming vice-president, Norm McFarlane will step up in 2011. Our recording secretary Sophie Johannessen, corresponding secretary Jane Eert and treasurer Rich Pawlowicz will continue for two more years. Finally, my predecessor as president, Andy Bush, will depart the executive in June. I do wish to thank these executives for their work and insight over the past year.
And now, over to David Fissel….
David Fissel Incoming CMOS President Nouveau président de la SCMO
Friends and Colleagues:
My first wish is to ack nowledge the dedication and achievements of Bill Crawford who has served as the CMOS President for the past year. Bill has led CMOS effectively through a variety of important issues. A major accomplishment was leading the way in developing our position statement on climate change, issued prior to the Copenhagen meeting last December. This statement was jointly issued by CMOS along with four other Canadian environmental Learned Societies. Bill will continue to be part of the CMOS executive for another year in his new role as Past-President.
I also look forward to working with Richard Pawlowicz, Jane Eert and Sophia Johannessen on the CMOS Executive for this coming year. Fortunately, Ian Rutherford will continue to serve as the Executive Director in managing the day-today operations and in providing keen strategic insights based on his executive director experience, as well as having served as President of CMOS in 1999.
In my role as Vice-President over this past year, I have focused on membership issues including the retention of existing members and recruitment of new members. CMOS members represent our core strength as an organization. We need to continue to make CMOS relevant and rewarding to meteorologists, oceanographers and others involved in these disciplines, across Canada and globally.
I would like to thank those CMOS members who are actively engaged in our Society through involvement in our governing Council, many national committees, and on the executives of the CMOS Local Centres (as listed on the home page of the CMOS website). The countless volunteer hours provided by these highly qualified and very busy scientists make CMOS an effective and globally respected organization.
I would also like to acknowledge the efforts and dedication of the staff of the CMOS National Office in Ottawa under the direction of Ian Rutherford, CMOS Executive Director. Richard Asselin is Director of Publications and has recently provided the leadership in developing the plans to transition our journal ATMOSPHERE-OCEAN to a more sustainable situation with CMOS. Paul-André Bolduc is responsible for the CMOS Bulletin SCMO, including translations and publishing, which has been featuring consistently high quality contributions. Our office manager is Qing Liao, who handles our membership applications, renewals, address changes, subscription enquiries and keeps our office running smoothly. The national office also benefits from the contributions of others, including Bob Jones, the CMOS webmaster, Dorothy Neale and until very recently, Uri Schwarz, our Executive Director Emeritus, who recently passed away. We owe much to Uri Schwarz in building CMOS through his role as the first Executive Director of CMOS, starting in 1982.
CMOS exists for "the advancement of meteorology and oceanography in Canada". Our biggest activity is the Annual Congress which this year, as a joint Congress with the Canadian Geophysical Union (CGU) in Ottawa, will attract several hundred attendees. We thank John Falkingham, Dick Stoddart and the many dedicated CMOS volunteers as well as Spiros Pagiatakis, CGU President and the many CGU volunteers for making this major event possible.
I look forward to working with all of you in CMOS, as well as our many collaborators and affiliates, over this next year.
SCMO June /