The Geography department has a strong climatology programme covering all scales. It has a emphasis on the atmospheric boundary layer, especially micro-, local and meso-scale aspects, but it also maintains interests in synoptic and global climates. Special interest has centered on micro-, topo-, urban and air pollution climatology. For example, there are ongoing studies on thermal microclimates, sea breeze and mountain wind systems. There is also work on the linkage between meso- and synoptic scale weather, especially in relation to air pollution, synoptic classification schemes and the likely impacts of global climate change. The group is also well known for its continuing interest in the physical basis of the climates of cities including the energy and water balances, heat islands, and remote sensing of city characteristics. Our work includes measurement, modelling (scale and numerical) and statistical studies.
The Vancouver area provides easy access to a wide variety of surfaces and terrain (urban, water, ice, snow, forest, agricultural and alpine). We have also run field campaigns in the United States, Mexico and Europe. The group is amply equipped with instruments to measure most aspects of the atmospheric boundary layer, including turbulence, all the fluxes of heat mass and momentum, profiles of climatic and air pollution elements, soil moisture, stomatal resistance, etc. We also have several towers, data loggers and a very good network of PC and workstation computers.
All climatologists in Geography are also part of the Atmospheric Science programme, which includes faculty from Earth and Ocean Sciences, Soil Science and other departments. The department is also part of a Collaborative Research and Training Experience on Atmospheric Aerosols (NSERC-CREATE–AAP). This is a unified training and fellowship-funding program designed to develop interdisciplinary skills for atmospheric aerosol researchers ranging from undergraduate students to post-doctoral fellows. Aerosols have important impacts on climate, air quality, and human health.
The department is part of a Collaborative Research and Training Experience on communication of climate change and terrestrial ecosystem science (CREATE–TerreWeb). This network brings together the fields of natural sciences research, behavioural decision research and science communication. TerreWEB aims to answer questions and find solutions to why there has been so little change in public behaviour and government policy despite the challenges presented by global climate change. Students will learn to develop strategies for communicating global change science and solutions.