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Date: September 21, 2010

Leading Climatologist Heads UVic Consortium

Francis ZwiersFrancis Zwiers


One of Canada’s leading climate researchers has returned to the University of Victoria to head a consortium that promotes collaborative research on the physical impacts of climate change on Pacific North America.

Dr. Francis Zwiers, an internationally recognized expert on climate variability and change, began his term as president and CEO of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) on Sept. 1, 2010. He succeeds Dr. Dave Rodenhuis, who continues to work with the consortium as associate climatologist.

Hosted by the University of Victoria, PCIC is a not-for-profit corporation that provides practical, science-based information for policy action in the areas of community planning, ecology, forestry, hydrology, transportation, agriculture, public health and energy. It is made up of representatives from university and government research labs and industry, including stakeholders and collaborators from BC and Washington State.

“This appointment is terrific news for the university,” says Dr. Howard Brunt, UVic’s vice-president research and chair of the PCIC board. “Francis is highly regarded in the international climate community and is one of Canada’s most respected climate scientists. We’re delighted to secure someone of this stature for this important position.”

Zwiers comes to UVic after a successful career at Environment Canada where he was most recently director of the department’s climate research division, based in Toronto. He’s already well known to the UVic community through his past leadership (1997-2006) of Environment Canada’s flagship climate modelling research laboratory, the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma), located on the UVic campus.

“Dr. Zwiers is a great addition to the PCIC team and we’re happy to welcome him to the strong climate change research community here in BC," says John Yap, Minister of State for Climate Action. "Government needs impartial, accurate information to make the best public policy decisions and I'm confident that with the appointment of Dr. Zwiers we will continue to receive the high-calibre research we've come to expect from PCIC.”

Zwiers is an expert in applying statistical methods to climate variability and change. He was among a group of scientists connected with UVic who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He is an elected member of the agency’s bureau for its fifth global climate assessment, due in 2013-14.

“UVic has an enormous concentration of activity in the climate sciences that crosses multiple departments and institutes,” says Zwiers. “Leading PCIC, with its vibrant and motivated staff, will give me an unparalleled opportunity to make a difference to BC and to develop my skills in translating climate science into information that is useful to practitioners.”

PCIC currently partners with federal and provincial agencies on a range of projects including future stream flow on the Columbia, Peace and Campbell river basins, mountain pine beetle impacts in the Fraser River watershed, and climate change impacts in local communities.

UVic is a Canadian and international leader in climate research, offering a full spectrum of expertise in the scientific, social and economic aspects of climate change. UVic also leads and hosts the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), a collaboration of BC’s four research-intensive universities. PCIC’s focused work on impacts complements the broad research on climate change mitigation and adaptation being conducted by PICS.

Media contacts:

Dr. Francis Zwiers, PCIC, at 250-472-4682 or fwzwiers@uvic.ca
Valerie Shore (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7641 or vshore@uvic.ca

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