Climate-Engineering Dialogue in the Context of Arctic Engineering Systems
The Canadian Network for Regional Climate and Weather Processes focused on quantifying and reducing uncertainties in climate projections and weather predictions for Canada’s northern regions. A number of land-related modules were improved and/or implemented in the Canadian regional climate models as part of this Network, which has led to better simulations for the region and improved understanding of processes and feedbacks. However, the climate model simulations available are still too coarse to provide information at the spatial resolution required for many engineering applications. Changing land dynamics and properties, particularly related to permafrost degradation, and extreme events can have significant impacts on both surface and subsurface infrastructure. Adapting to permafrost degradation will require remedial measures to be applied to existing infrastructure and new approaches in designing and building new infrastructure. This talk will look at some of the engineering-relevant aspects of weather and climate, including extremes, for the Arctic and will discuss impacts and adaptation strategies and framework for selected engineering operations and infrastructure systems. Due to the rapid warming projected in Arctic regions, it is very likely that at least several tipping points will be crossed, some of which might pose important risks to infrastructure. Specialized analyses of climate model outputs from this perspective to estimate important thresholds for selected engineering systems will also be presented.
Laxmi Sushama is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Trottier Chair in Sustainability in Engineering and Design at McGill University. She holds a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Regional Climate Modelling, leveraging her research expertise in engineering hydrology, water resources engineering, climate science and regional earth system modelling. By integrating high-latitude land-atmosphere processes, feedbacks and interactions into climate models, her research strongly influences regional climate modelling and its applications for cold regions. Her current research also focuses on climate-sustainability nexus with a special emphasis on urban environments, climate resilience of infrastructure and sustainability in engineering design. She has also led major networks, including the most recent NSERC-funded Canadian Network for Regional Climate and Weather Processes.