Call for abstracts: CMOS 2020 Congress

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The Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) will host its 54th annual congress this spring, from May 24-28 in Ottawa, and is currently accepting abstract submissions. The 2020 Congress will feature four sessions from members of the MEOPAR network.

Please consider submitting an abstract to a MEOPAR session. Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 14, and you can find the submission form here.

Impacts of Climate Extremes on Indigenous Communities

In the context of climate change, a plethora of global warming projections point to an increase in the frequency and intensity of climate extremes around the world in the years to come. These include prolonged periods of anomalously warm air and/or ocean waters, severe weather/wind storms, droughts and flooding events. Their profound impacts on both natural environments and social systems, however, pose an additional threat to Indigenous communities, whose lifeways are adapted to the unique climate and environmental conditions they have been living in for centuries or more. In particular, extreme weather events can impact the permafrost-based infrastructures in the north, and may often result in inaccessible traditional traveling routes. Meanwhile, many of these regions have also experienced extended droughts during 2018, threatening their already fragile water provisions. On top of that, common fishing or hunting practices of coastal-based populations can be altered by prolonged periods of extreme warm ocean temperatures (i.e. marine heatwaves), that may reinforce aseasonal ice reduction and migration of marine species. This can further lead to food insecurity for Indigenous people through an increased reliance on commercial foods. Although the discussion of climate change impacts on these communities is currently advancing, there is still little knowledge on the social and economic effects of the changing meteorological and/or ocean extremes on remote regions of the world. This session seeks current knowledge as well as new and evolving insights into extreme climate events that have impacted 13 Indigenous communities across Canada and/or other parts of the world. We encourage studies and reports from community representatives and academic researchers, as well as partnerships between them, that will advance our understanding of the consequences of these events and contribute to discussions about the sustainable management of environments and the societies that depend on them.

For more information, please contact the session conveners:
Eric Oliver, Dalhousie University, eric.oliver@dal.ca 
Sofia Darmaraki, Dalhousie University, sofia.darmaraki@dal.ca
Jennifer Jackson, Hakai Institute, jennifer.jackson@hakai.org

Coastal & Shoreline Community Resilience: Adaptation of coastal communities in Canada to extreme weather events and climate change

As coastal and shoreline communities in Canada face increased risk with respect to climate change and extreme weather events, adaptation and resilience-building becomes a crucial stake of local development. Several challenges face local communities in this endeavor, such as a lack of resources, of scientific knowledge, the complicated articulation of the various levels of governance, conflicts of interest in communities, the mobilization of social capital, or the inability to project in the future on time scales relevant to climate change. In this context, the co-production of knowledge between researchers and local decision-makers is increasingly important. This session uses examples from across Canada (including, but not limited to British Columbia, New-Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec), to highlight how this cocreation facilitates the transition from adaptation and resilience planning into specific concrete action. The session will highlight the different quantitative and qualitative techniques which scientists are using to assist in this, such as satellite imagery, remote sensing, shoreline vulnerability mapping, social network analysis, interviews and focus groups, participatory mapping, scenario planning, etc. Examples of applications may range from flood response and urban planning approaches to ocean acidification mitigation. These techniques will be related to how they can be used to strengthen community social resilience. Overarching concepts such as adaptive governance, social resilience and place-based decisionmaking will be explored for specific communities. We wish to stimulate a discussion on tools and approaches of community accompaniment, in a perspective that can be broadly defined as participatory action research, in which true partnerships between researchers and communities are created, in which knowledge is co-created, including valuing local and traditional knowledge, and research agendas determined through an open dialogue.

The Global Framework for Climate Services has determined that vulnerability assessment and risk management are important tools in the provision of usable science. They are also an important aspect of stakeholder-based sustainability initiatives. Local communities are an increasingly important major sector, particularly as they continue to declare climate emergencies in an effort to highlight the importance of climate change, extreme weather and related impacts. The relevance of this session to the overall theme is that it presents the range of techniques for climate services that are being used to examine the interrelated nature of scientific risk assessment, vulnerability, resilience, and adaptation to decision-making in coastal communities.

For more information, please contact the session conveners:
Sebastian Weissenberger,
Université TÉLUQ,  sebastian.weissenberger@teluq.ca
Omer Chouinard, Université de Moncton, omer.chouinard@umoncton.ca
Tereza Jarnikova, University of British Columbia, tjarniko@eoas.ubc.ca
Bradley May, Brock University, bmay@brocku.ca

Ocean-sea ice interaction in a changing climate: Environmental and societal impacts

Recent observational and modelling studies show that the warming ocean has had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on the concentration, thickness and seasonality of sea ice. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the past ten years hold the record minimum sea ice extents out of all years on record. As the ocean has a much lower albedo than sea ice, retreating sea ice increases solar radiation absorbed by the ocean; this increases the temperature of the ocean, which further decreases sea ice coverage. The Arctic Ocean is particularly vulnerable to this positive feedback mechanism and experiences amplified change. These responses under a changing climate have significant environmental and social impacts on communities and animals in high-latitude regions. For Indigenous communities who rely on sea ice for traveling, hunting, food and other resources, the changing sea ice-ocean dynamic poses a great threat to their daily lives. For animals such as polar bears who need sea ice for resting, hunting and traveling, their survival is threatened with declined sea ice. Reduced sea ice coverage also allows for increased maritime activities including shipping and fishing, which increase the risk of oil spills and disrupt the ecosystem. Hence, there is an urgent need to better identify the ocean-sea ice interaction under a changing climate and the impacts on the environment and communities in the high latitudes. This research could improve future projections and consequently help communities, rights-holders and policy-makers plan for mitigation strategies to build resilience against these changing conditions.

We invite contributions from researchers, Indigenous communities, policy-makers, NGOs and others investigating how the oceans and sea ice are changing, those reporting on the societal impacts of changing oceans and sea ice conditions, and those working on mitigating threats due to changing sea ice and ocean conditions.

For more information, please contact the session conveners:
Angela  Cheng, Canadian Ice Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada, MEOPAR Network, McGill University, angela.cheng@canada.ca
Rachel Kim, McGill University, rachel.h.kim@mail.mcgill.ca
Andrea Nesdoly, University of Victoria, andreanesdoly@gmail.com
Chengzhu (William) Xu, University of Calgary, chengzhu.xu@ucalgary.ca

Renewable power in a changing climate

As the world shifts to renewable energy, a better understanding of the highly variable nature of renewable energy resources will become increasingly important. Current understanding is limited by uncertainty in the rate and geographic patterns of climate change, as well as short-term variability that affects the predictability of renewable energy. This session will explore meteorological, oceanographic and climatic considerations for renewable power across Canada. Session content encompasses limiting factors affecting wind, solar, and marine energy prediction under current conditions and in a changing climate. Submissions are welcomed from observational and model-based perspectives on topics including, but not limited to: boundary layer conditions and wind profiles, turbulence, solar irradiance and cloud cover, estimates of renewable energy potential, and power system modelling.

For more information, please contact the session conveners:
Laura Van Vliet, University of Victoria, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, lvanvliet@uvic.ca
Caio Ruman, Climate Change and Sustainable Engineering and Design Lab,McGill University, Department of Civil Engineering, caio.ruman@mail.mcgill.ca