2015 Speakers


Opening Keynote

Steve Easterbrook

S_EasterbrookSteve Easterbrook is a professor of computer science at the University of Toronto. He studies how computer models of complex system behaviour can help us to make wise choices about living sustainably on planet earth. His teaching and research focusses on the dynamics of complex systems. He conducted the first detailed anthropological study of how climate scientists build and test computational simulations of the earth’s climate, and is currently investigating how weaknesses in people’s understanding of climate change lead to poor decision-making. In his teaching he uses hands-on simulations to help students develop critical thinking skills to analyze global problems. Before he moved to Toronto, he worked for NASA, analyzing the safety of the flight software on the space shuttle and the international space station, and before that, he taught cognitive science at the University of Sussex in the UK.

Title of Presentation: Computing the Climate – How computer models help us understand future climate change

Abstract: In this talk, Steve will explain how a computational climate model works, and trace the history of climate modelling, from the early ENIAC weather simulations created by in the 1950’s by von Neumann and Charney, through to today’s Earth System Models, in which models of the atmosphere, ocean, vegetation and ice sheets are coupled together to study interactions and feedbacks across the climate system. He’ll also explain how the models are tested, and how we know about their strengths and weaknesses, ending with a brief look at how computer models are used in the assessments of climate change performed by the IPCC, and a glimpse at the latest results used in the IPCC’s sixth assessment report, published in the fall of 2014.

Closing Keynote

Carl Duivenvoorden

IWB_Keynote Carl Duivenvoorden_Photo

Carl Duivenvoorden was raised on a dairy farm in northern New Brunswick.  His diverse early agricultural career took him to over 25 countries, from New Zealand to Vietnam to Brazil.

But from his early days in the village of Belledune, Carl always had an uneasy concern about human impacts on our global environment.  In 2006, he read “An Inconvenient Truth”, the book that catapulted climate change onto the global agenda.  In April 2007, he became one of the first Canadians to be personally trained by former US Vice President Al Gore to present live versions of his Academy Award-winning slideshow.  Since then, he has presented to over 300 audiences in Atlantic Canada and the US.  In September 2011, he was one of 23 volunteer presenters worldwide who joined Al Gore in “24 Hours of Reality”, a climate change awareness event livestreamed globally; he spoke from Ilulissat, Greenland.

Formerly with Efficiency New Brunswick, Carl works as a professional speaker, writer and sustainability consultant, helping people and organizations learn how they can save money, energy and our environment.  He presents on subjects as diverse as transportation, economics, efficiency, biodiversity and renewable energy – because all factor into a healthy planet.  His newspaper column, Green Ideas, is featured regularly in the NB Telegraph Journal, the Fredericton Daily Gleaner and four weeklies.  Learn more at www.changeyourcorner.com.

Title of Presentation: Beyond an Inconvenient Truth

The abstract for Carl Duivenvoorden’s presentation will be posted shortly.

Oceans Information Systems

Fred Whoriskey

IWB_Speaker Whoriskey_PhotoDr. Whoriskey is the Executive Director of the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN), a global research infrastructure documenting the movements and survival of aquatic animals, and their links to environmental conditions (http://oceantrackingnetwork.org/). The OTN is headquartered at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia. Prior to joining Dalhousie University in 2010, Fred was the Vice President, Research and Environment of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF). While at ASF, he developed the organization’s acoustic telemetry programs, and led science-based public policy activity. Other positions included working as an Assistant then Associate  Professor at McGill University from 1986 – 1995, and as a Research Assistant for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (1976-1981). He has held appointments as an adjunct professor with the University of Guelph, University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie University and McGill University. He has also served on the Boards of the AquaNet National Center of Excellence in Aquaculture, the Canadian Rivers Institute, and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre (Chair from 2003-2011). In addition to his science administration work, Fred has published extensively in the area of fish biology and ecology. He has been heavily involved in public policy issues, and has worked broadly in public education and environmental impact evaluation. He received a Gulf of Maine Visionary Award in 2008, the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s Lee Wulff Award in 2010, and is a frequent public speaker.   Dr Whoriskey received his BSc degree (honors) from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island (1976), and his Ph.D. degree from l’Université Laval in Quebec City (1984).  He held a NATO postdoctoral fellowship at the University College of Wales (now Aberystwyth University) in the  UK (1985).

Title of Presentation: The Ocean Tracking Network (OTN): New technology and new information in preparation for a changing ocean.

Kumiko Azetsu-Scott

Kumiko at Davis StraitDr. Kumiko Azetsu-Scott is a research scientist at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada), where she leads the carbon and tracer group, and also an adjunct in the Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie University.  Her research interests include climate change and carbon cycles in the ocean and ocean acidification in the North Atlantic and the Arctic. She also investigates air-sea interactions, water mass formation and ventilation ages using transient tracer, and freshwater composition and fluxes using multiple chemical tracers. Dr. Azetsu-Scott has been coordinating ocean acidification programs at DFO to understand temporal and spatial variability and their controlling. She is a lead author of the report on the Arctic Ocean Acidification to the Arctic Council (Arctic Monitoring Assessment Programme), a member of Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) and Canadian representative for Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) and Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER). She is an associate editor of the journal Environmental Reviews.

Title of Presentation: Ocean acidification; how data are collected and used.

For abstracts of the Oceans Information Systems’ presentations, see the schedule.

Climate Research & Public Communication

Jason Hollett

JasonHollett_IWB2015Jason began working for the province at the Department of Energy in 2006, focusing on community renewable energy. He moved to Nova Scotia Environment in 2008 to manage a community and business environmental technology fund and then on to a managing role with the Climate Change Directorate. In his current role, he oversees a diverse portfolio of subjects including protected areas, contaminated sites, climate change air quality and solid waste. Jason has a bachelor’s degree in business and education from St. Mary’s and Mount Saint Vincent University respectively.

 Megan Leslie

MeganLeslie_Aug2014_dropFirst elected in 2008, Megan Leslie is the Member of Parliament for Halifax. Since being named to the Official Opposition’s Shadow Cabinet as the NDP’s Environment Critic in May 2011, Megan has been pushing for strong action of clean energy and green technology, and a plan to include climate change in a national energy strategy. She has also been active in calling for a comprehensive approach addressing the negative impacts of climate change. In March 2012, Megan was also named Deputy Leader of the NDP.

In previous sessions of Parliament, Megan took on several portfolios including Housing and Homelessness, and Health. throughout her work in her community and on Parliament Hill, Megan has advocated for anti-poverty initiatives and Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) rights.

Abstracts of the Climate Research & Public Communication presentations will be announced on the schedule.

Information in Use: Planning & Adaptation Strategies

Tony Charles

IWB_Speaker Charles_PhotoDr. Tony Charles is Director of the School of the Environment, and a professor in the Sobey School of Business, at Saint Mary’s University. He specializes in studies of natural resource management, and particularly focuses on the sustainability and resilience of coastal and marine systems, community-based approaches to resource management, and human dimensions of ecosystem-based management and climate change. Dr. Charles leads the global Community Conservation Research Network (www.CommunityConservation.Net), a multi-year project that focuses on local-level conservation, sustainable livelihoods and policy impacts. Dr. Charles is author of the new book Governance in Marine Fisheries and Biodiversity Conservation, and is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, a Gulf of Maine Visionary Award winner, a Senior Research Fellow of the International Ocean Institute, and a member of the Fisheries Expert Group in IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management. He has been an advisor to the United Nations (FAO), the OECD, the World Trade Organization, the Canadian and Nova Scotian governments, and a range of coastal communities in Atlantic Canada.

Title of presentation: Knowledge into (Adaptation) Action: Coping with a Changing Climate

Patricia Manuel

Dr. Patricia Manuel is the Director of the School of Planning at Dalhousie University. She is a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and  the Licensed Professional Planners Association of Nova Scotia. A geographer by training, she works mainly in the areas of environmental and community planning. She is cross-appointed to the School of Occupational Therapy where she has taught community design in the health professions. Dr. Manuel is also a visiting faculty member with the University Centre of the Westfjords, Akureyri University, Iceland where she teaches a course each year in coastal planning in the graduate Coastal and Marine Management program. Dr. Manuel conducts applied research in climate change adaptation planning, wetlands interpretation and management, and watershed planning and management. She also researches community planning and design and health. She teaches broadly in the areas environmental planning theory and practice. She regularly supervises student research in environmental, coastal and watershed planning.  Dr. Manuel currently serves on the National Coastal Assessment Advisory Committee (National Resources Canada-Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Division) and the Atlantic Climate Adaptations Solutions Association Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation. She is very active in the local environment and planning community serving on boards, and working with watershed groups, community planning and advisory groups, and ENGOs.

Title of presentation:Time and tide: Aging communities and rising seas, a rural planning challenge

Abstracts for the Information in Use: Planning and Adaptation Strategies presentations can be viewed on the schedule.

Mapping, Modelling & Climate Informatics

Adam Fenech

IWB_Speaker Fenech_PhotoDr. Fenech has worked extensively in the area of climate change since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change First Assessment Report in 1988. He has edited 7 books on climate change, most recently on Climate Impacts and Adaptation Science.  Dr. Fenech has worked for Harvard University researching the history of the science/policy interfaces of climate change. He has represented Canada at international climate negotiating sessions; written climate policy speeches for Canadian Environment Ministers; and authored Canadian reports on climate change to the United Nations. Dr. Fenech has taught at the University of Toronto as well as the Smithsonian Institution for almost 20 years, and lectures regularly at universities across Canada and around the world. He is presently the Director of the University of Prince Edward Island’s Climate Research Lab that conducts research on the vulnerability, impacts and adaptation to climate change.

 Cristian Suteanu

Dr. SutC.Suteanueanu is an Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, cross-appointed in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and the Departments of Environmental Science. He is the Chairperson of the Environmental Science Department.
His main interests concern information processes and the role they play in the environmental systems as well as in our relation to the environment.
On one hand, he focuses on nonlinear analysis and modelling of complex systems and their links to the science of information, including the development of methodological approaches to environmental processes; applications include climate variability, renewable energy, and natural hazards. On the other hand, he studies epistemological aspects of our interactions with the environment.
His courses include Environmental Pattern analysis and Modeling, Environmental Information Management, as well as statistics, natural hazards, and graduate and post-doc courses on nonlinear approaches to natural complex systems.

Title of Presentation: Synergies in environmental information management – methodological applications regarding space-time variability in the atmosphere

Aldona Wiacek

Aldona_Wiacek_PPPDr. Wiacek is an Associate Professor cross-appointed in the Departments of Environmental Science as well as Astronomy & Physics.  She is interested in remote ‌sensing of atmospheric trace gases involved in air pollution and climate and also in the climate effects of aerosol (suspended particles) through cloud interactions. Her research includes the development of ground- and satellite-based remote sensing instrumentation and data analysis techniques (retrieval algorithms and inverse theory). She is currently establishing the Tropospheric Remote Sensing Laboratory (TRSL) to characterize atmospheric composition in the planetary boundary layer at SMU and in the field, with the end goal of improving the understanding and prediction of atmospheric processes.

Dr. Wiacek helped establish the Toronto Atmospheric Observatory as part of her Ph.D. studies at the University of Toronto. She then researched aerosol-cloud interactions as a prestigious Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute (ETH) in Zürich. Finally, she held the position of Research Associate (remote sensing of aerosols) at Dalhousie University before joining SMU in 2013.

At SMU, she has developed and taught “Climate Change” and “Physical Processes in the Environment”, as well as “Environmental Science: Populations & Ecosystems”, “Environmental Science: Energy, Resources & Pollution”.

Title of Presentation: Air Quality in a Changing Climate – Without Borders!

Abstracts for Mapping, Modelling & Climate Informatics can be found on the schedule.