Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX launches Climate Services and Research Centre

October 28th, 2019
L-r: Dr. Corrine Cash, Dr. Andrew MacDougall, Dr. Hugo Beltrami, Dr. Patrick Withey. Missing: Dr. Lisa Kellman

StFX has launched a new research centre on campus that is intended to serve the regional community as it develops and disseminates advanced climate models and data to provide practical information on the physical, social, and economic impacts of climate change.

The Climate Services & Research Centre (CSRC) will function as a hub that offers services, including creating regional predictive climate modelling scenarios that will help anticipate potential climate change consequences and serve as a guide to develop adaptability strategies in response to projected future climate, to organizations of all types. 

“There has been a need for this type of service for a long time, and we now have new capabilities to produce regional climate model simulations that will help produce evidence-based solutions to regional climate change problems, and develop adaptation strategies that are applicable specifically in the region,” says Dr. Hugo Beltrami, a StFX earth sciences professor and Canada Research Chair in Climate Dynamics.

The capabilities that Dr. Beltrami speaks of are the combination of a newly acquired super computer cluster that can be used to generate climate models at local scales, and the presence of faculty researchers and graduate students capable of producing models tailored towards specific questions about how climate change will affect the Maritime provinces. 

Members of the Climate Research and Services Centre will work as a team to produce models, and to provide analysis and potential solutions, depending on what questions they are being asked to investigate. 

Faculty researchers comprising the newly created CSRC include Dr. Beltrami, Dr. Corrine Cash, Dr. Lisa Kellman, Dr. Andrew MacDougall and Dr. Patrick Withey. Their expertise is wide-ranging and spans social, economic, and scientific dimensions of understanding climate change. 

Some of the work by members of the CSRC is already having a real effect. 

Past work included predicting the propagation of Lyme disease-carrying ticks in different areas of the province and Atlantic Canada, based on potential future temperature changes. 

The CSRC has also been called upon to assess the potential for climate change induced flooding in the province. The CSRC contribution was part of a multi-institutional effort provide the Government of Nova Scotia with vital information needed to develop flood lines-related regulations impacting future infrastructure development in the province. With this type of information and analysis, people can prepare and adapt more readily climate change impacts by developing solutions based on evidence of future trends. 

CSRC’s researchers, in collaboration with Spanish researchers and graduate students, have also been involved in the development of a wind database for potential use in wind power generation. 

Now that the new centre is operational, next steps will be to develop a suite of offerings, based on the needs of the community. The centre is in the process of developing a high resolution (fine scale) regional climatology so that it can produce future climate scenarios in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada over the next 80 years. This will serve as a base of information that can be used to answer questions from the regional community. 

“The goal,” says Dr. Beltrami, “is to share our capacity with those who can really benefit, but first of all, attempting to respond to the needs of the community. This necessarily requires community involvement.”  

Visit climateservicesandresearchcentre.com for more information about the centre’s activities.

 

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