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Date: September 04, 2008

Uvic Addresses Northern Forests and Climate Change

Researchers at the University of Victoria are launching three new projects that will help Canadians deal with climate change. The projects are being supported by $535,000 in funding over two years from the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS)—the major funding body for university-led climate research in Canada.

UVic climatologist Andrew Weaver will look at the consequences of climate change on northern areas of permafrost—the permanently frozen ground that underlies nearly half of Canada. The permafrost is melting into wetlands, increasing the likelihood that those areas will give off growing levels of methane, a greenhouse gas. In addition, UVic climatologist Katrin Meissner will investigate the effect of climate change on Canada’s northern forest, including insect infestation and forest fires. UVic mathematician Boualem Khouider will look at ways of improving forecasts of an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs over Indonesia. It is similar to El Niño and has surprising impacts as far away as British Columbia, including severe floods.

“These projects will give decision-makers the scientific tools they need to face future challenges,” says Gordon McBean, chair of CFCAS (www.cfcas.org). “This is the sort of information that must be built into sound public policy, innovation and strategic development, moving us forward into an era of mitigation and adaptation to climate change and associated factors.”

“We are extremely grateful for the foundation’s support,” says Dr. Howard Brunt, UVic’s vice-president research, “as it gives our researchers another opportunity to help the world understand and respond appropriately to the realities of global warming.”

UVic is a Canadian leader in climate change research, and is among the top universities in the world specializing in this critical area of study. Its research expertise spans areas as diverse as climate modelling, energy systems engineering, environmental law, energy and environmental economics, watershed ecology, oceanography, public policy and international relations. For more information visit www.uvic.ca/research/oceans.html.
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Media contacts:
Dr. Andrew Weaver (Earth and Ocean Sciences) at 250-472-4006 or weaver@uvic.ca
Dr. Katrin Meissner (Earth and Ocean Sciences) at 250-472-4060 or katrin@ocean.seos.uvic.ca
Dr. Boualem Khouider (Mathematics and Statistics) at 250-721-7439 or khouider@uvic.ca
Maria Lironi (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6139 or lironim@uvic.ca
Kelly Crowe (CFCAS Communications Officer) at 613-238-2223 ext 209 or crowe@cfcas.org

Backgrounders:
CFCAS Funded Projects

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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