Climate Modelling Group
School of Earth and Ocean Sciences

1. Name of Grantee, Department, Institution

Andrew J. Weaver, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria

2. Title of Project and Application Number

The role of the ocean in climate change and climate variability: STP0192999

3. Co-investigators, Department, Institution


4. Budget




Total NSERC Expenditure to date

Total Cash Contribution Provided by all Partners

Total In-Kind Contribution Provided by all Partners

Year 1





Year 2





Year 3





Year 4





Year 5





*Note: I was one of three PIs awarded an IBM SUR grant at UVic (R. Sobie [lead] and N. Dimopoulos as co-PIs). This grant was for an 8 processor IBM SP with 1 GB RAM each, 1/2TB of SSA disk and a control workstation.

5. Amount remaining in grant as of May 31: $15,659 (includes commitments)

I have listed the amount remaining on May 31st as June 30th data will not be available by the July 15th deadline.

6. Achievement of the Objectives Described in the Original Application

In my original proposal I listed 8 objectives and 11 milestones aimed at meeting these objectives. The original objectives are given below and at the end of each objective I specify the relevant milestone. The remainder of this section then discusses progress as per each milestone. I will not duplicate the discussion from my year 2 progress report, but rather focus on research completed since that time. A review of the role of the ocean in climate variability was also published upon invitation from Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences (Weaver et al, 1999).


1 understand processes of decadal-interdecadal variability using a coupled OGCM-EMBM-TIM. The OGCM [ocean general circulation model] will have variable resolution ranging from 4° to 0.25° (Milestone #4).

2 understand the role of eddies in the poleward transport of heat and salt. (Milestone #1).

3 use CFC-11 as a tracer to validate the climatology of OGCMs as well as their sub-grid scale mixing parameterizations. (Milestone #5).

4 develop simple models to understand the processes involved in decadal-interdecadal climate variability. (Milestone #10).

5 investigate the effects of sub-grid-scale OGCM parameterizations on decadal-interdecadal climate variability. (Milestone #6).

6 use a global OGCM and coupled OGCM-EMBM-TIM to examine teleconnections associated with processes in the North Atlantic. (Milestone #9).

7 use the GFDL coupled model and the coupled EMBM-OGCM-TIM to investigate processes of decadal-interdecadal variability in the coupled climate system and its dependence on the mean climatic state. (Milestones #7 and 8)

8 undertake a simulation of the Younger Dryas event using the coupled EMBM-OGCM-TIM. In addition the climatic effects of opening and closing oceanic gateways will be examined. (Milestones #2 and 3).


1. Analysis of the role of eddies in transporting heat and freshwater poleward – Completed 30/06/1997

This completed milestone was discussed extensively in the year 2 progress report. Fanning and Weaver (1997b).

2. Simulation of the Younger Dryas event – Completed 30/06/1997

This completed milestone was discussed extensively in the year 2 progress report. In addition, as part of the NSERC Climate System History and Dynamics (CSHD) Network, I worked with Nat Rutter at the University of Alberta to undertake a detailed comparison between model output and global proxy data. Fanning and Weaver (1997a); Rutter et al (2000).

3. Climatic effects of opening and closing oceanic gateways– Completed 31/10/1997

This completed milestone was discussed extensively in the year 2 progress report. Murdock et al (1997).

While this particular component of the strategic research is now complete, further research under the NSERC CSHD project is being conducted. M. Yoshimori, a PhD student, is focussing on the interaction of the cryosphere, atmosphere and ocean. We have incorporated a continental ice sheet model, developed by Marshall and Clarke at UBC, into our coupled atmosphere-ocean-sea ice model. The ice sheet/climate model has been used to examine the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene.

The model performs well under present-day, 11 kyr BP and 21 kyr BP forcing. From a serious of sensitivity analyses we concluded that both orbital and CO2 forcing have an impact on ice sheet maintenance and deglacial processes. Although neither acting singly is sufficient to lead to complete deglaciation, orbital forcing seems to be more important. The impact of CO2 has its peak in winter through changing the rate of deepwater formation and hence poleward ocean heat transport while that of orbital forcing has its peak in summer at 11 kyr BP and 21 kyr BP. Since the summer temperature seems dominant rather than winter temperature, orbital forcing has a larger impact on the ice sheet mass balance than CO2. Also, warm winter SSTs due to increased CO2 during the deglaciation might contribute to ice sheet mass balance as a negative feedback through slightly enhanced precipitation. Yoshimori et al (2000); Weaver et al. (1998).

4. Understand processes of decadal variability in coupled OGCM—EMBM—TIM – Completed 31/12/1999

Initial results for this now completed milestone were discussed extensively in the year 2 progress report. Fanning and Weaver (1998).

As noted in my year 2 progress report, my partners (CICS, CCCma and now CCAF) and I became excited about understanding low frequency variability of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Our conjecture was that sea ice played an important role in this variability. In order to examine this issue, several improvements have been incorporated into the sea ice component of our coupled model. These include a parameterization of sea ice dynamics and a subgrid-scale ice thickness distribution. Bitz et al (2000).

The simulated influence of Arctic sea ice on the variability of the North Atlantic climate was analysed within the context of the coupled model. Under steady seasonal forcing, an equilibrium solution was obtained with very little variability. To induce variability in the model, daily varying stochastic anomalies were applied to the wind forcing of the northern hemisphere sea ice cover. These stochastic anomalies had observed spatial patterns but were random in time. Model simulations were run for 1000 years from an equilibrium state and the variability in the system was analyzed. The sensitivity of the system to the ice/ocean coupling of both heat and fresh water was also examined.

Under the stochastic forcing conditions, low amplitude (approximately 10% of the mean) variability in the thermohaline circulation (THC) occurred. This variability had enhanced spectral power at interdecadal timescales that was concentrated at approximately 20 years. It was forced by fluctuations in the export of ice from the Arctic into the North Atlantic. Large changes in sea-surface temperature and salinity were related to changes in the overturning circulation and the sea ice coverage in the northern North Atlantic. Additionally, the THC variability influenced the Arctic basin through heat transport under the ice pack.

Results from sensitivity studies suggest that the fresh water exchange from the variable ice cover is the dominant process for forcing variability in the overturning. The simulated Arctic ice export appears to provide stochastic forcing to the northern North Atlantic which excites a damped oscillatory ocean-only mode. The insulating capacity of the variable sea ice has a negligible effect on the THC. Ice/ocean thermal coupling acts to preferentially damp THC variability with periods greater than ~30 years, but has little influence on variability at higher frequencies.

The impact of rising atmospheric CO2 levels on this low frequency variability of the North Atlantic climate was also examined. In particular, we focused on THC variability induced by fluctuations in ice export from the Arctic basin. Under 2 x CO2 conditions, the thermohaline circulation variance was reduced to 7% of its simulated value under present day forcing. This decrease was caused by relatively low ice export variability and changes in the primary ice melt location in the northern North Atlantic under 2 x CO2 conditions. Holland et al.(2000a,b).

5. CFC—11 and sub-grid-scale mixing parameterizations – In progress

Initial results for this milestone were discussed extensively in the year 2 progress report. Weaver and Eby (1997); Huck et al (1999b).

Recent measurements have shown that oceanic mixing varies with location, and tends to be an order of magnitude larger at ocean margins than in the thermocline. O. Dravnieks recently defended his thesis on examining the effects of a spatially varying vertical mixing parameterization on the global ocean circulation. He has since taken up a position at Nortel Networks in Ottawa. In his thesis, which we are currently writing up for publication, the effect of the geographical variation and magnitude of the diapycnal mixing coefficient (kv) on the equilibrium meridional heat transport and overturning strength was examined. Temperature was the only tracer used, and prescribed surface temperature was the only external forcing applied. The model was run with traditional horizontal/vertical (HOR) and Gent-McWilliams (GM) parameterizations of mixing, with varying amounts and locations of vertical mixing.

The maximum meridional overturning strength and the meridional heat transport were proportional to KV3/5 for both HOR and GM parameterizations. This is different from the KV2/3 relationship suggested by simple scaling analysis, reflecting a breakdown of the scaling assumptions as seen in the model runs. For the HOR parameterization, mixing at the boundaries was found to be more effective than that in the interior; this was not true for the GM parameterization. The term balances for the momentum and tracer equations were also analysed.

All coupled models assume that during the process of sea ice formation, brine rejection occurs on the scale of the ocean grid. In reality, brine rejection occurs on very small spatial scales (hundreds of metres). We recently included a more realistic parameterization for brine rejection into the UVic coupled model. In this parameterization rejected salt is mixed to a depth which is calculated from a prescribed density contrast relative to the surface, prior to the initiation of convection. This approach has the realistic property that rejected salt is mixed more deeply in regions where the vertical density stratification is weak, and less deeply in regions where the stratification is strong. The results from the inclusion of this parameterization, together with the GM parameterization for mixing associated with mesoscale eddies, were dramatic and extremely encouraging. Spurious southern ocean convection was eliminated; the formation and representation of Antarctic Intermediate Water was substantially enhanced; salinities were more realistic (both globally & locally); the overcooling problem of deep ocean temperatures when the GM parametrisation is used was eliminated; sea ice extents were also improved. Duffy et al. (1999); Duffy et al (2000).

Rather than continue down the avenue of using CFCs to validate climate models, I have focussed my efforts, in collaboration with P. Duffy at LLNL, on trying to understand methodologies used to evaluate climate model simulations of the present climate. The most common method used to evaluate climate models involves spinning them up under perpetual present-day forcing and comparing the model results with present-day observations. This approach ignores any potential long term memory of the model ocean to past climatic conditions. We examined the validity of this approach through the 6000 year integration of the UVic coupled model. The coupled model was initially spun-up with atmospheric CO2 concentrations and orbital parameters applicable for 6 kyr BP. The model was then integrated forward in time through to 2100. Results from this transient coupled model simulation were compared with the results from two additional simulations, in which the model was spun up with perpetual 1850 (preindustrial) and 1998 (present-day) atmospheric CO2 concentrations and orbital parameters. This comparison lead to substantial differences between the equilibrium climatologies and the transient simulation, even at 1850 (in weakly ventilated regions), prior to any significant changes in atmospheric CO2. When compared to the present-day equilibrium climatology, differences were very large: the global mean surface air and sea surface temperatures were ~0.5°C and ~0.4°C colder, respectively, deep ocean temperatures are substantially cooler, southern hemisphere sea ice cover is 38% larger, and the North Atlantic conveyor 16% weaker in the transient case. These differences were due to the long timescale memory of the deep ocean to climatic conditions which prevailed throughout the late Holocene, as well as to its large thermal inertia. Weaver et al (2000).

We are currently rerunning these experiments using a newer version of the UVic model (with its more sophisticated representation of sea ice) and we are also including changes in solar forcing and volcanic emissions. This project, and hence milestone, should be completed by the end of this year.

6. Sub-grid-scale mixing parameterizations and decadal variability – Completed 31/10/1997

This completed milestone was discussed extensively in the year 2 progress report. Huck et al (1999a); Fanning and Weaver (1997c).

7. Analysis of decadal variability in the GFDL coupled model – In progress

Initial progress towards this goal was discussed in year 2 progress report. Weaver and Valcke (1998).

Last year the Canadian Climate Change Action Fund (CCAF) joined as partners for this project. They were interested in assisting with the transfer of technology, obtained under NSERC Strategic funding, to my CCCma partner. As such I decided to focus my efforts in this area on the CCCma model, rather than the GFDL model.

Two of my recent postdoctoral fellows (C. Bitz and M. Holland) developed a new sea ice model as part of milestone 4. A description of, and the results from, a number of sensitivity analyses conducted using this new sea ice model have been submitted for publication (Bitz et al. 2000). L. Waterman (MSc student) and M. Eby are undertaking further sensitivity analyses using this model. As discussed for milestone 5, we have already demonstrated the importance of the parameterization of local effects of brine rejection within the context of the UVic coupled model. The improvements realised with this parameterization were so great that we will conduct an experiment with the CCCma coupled model that includes this effect. The substantial reduction of spurious ocean convection may further reduce, if not eliminate, the need for large flux adjustments in the Southern Ocean domain of the CCCma coupled model and will also reduce them substantially near the ice edge in the north Atlantic.

A research associate (O. Saenko) has started to incorporate the new sea ice model into the CCCma coupled model. He has so far familiarized himself with the various models and has begun a series of test calculations aimed at improving the representation of ocean convection under ice. In particular, an improved parameterization of sub-grid scale convection due to sea ice formation is being developed. Resolving a distribution of sea ice thickness within a given model grid cell enables us to account for the brine released under each ice category and to apply convective mixing to both ocean salinity and temperature under a density-unstable ice category.

Once completed, this milestone will represent a major success of this project as it will have lead to an improved representation of sea ice in the CCCma coupled model.

8. Analysis of decadal variability in warmer and colder climates using the GFDL coupled model – In progress

D. Stone, A Ph.D. student who is now supported through CCAF funds, has made substantial progress towards the completion of this project. Preliminary results have been very encouraging and were recently presented at the CLIVAR Workshop, McGill (27-28 March 2000). To date he has calculated the dominant patterns of variability in the sea level pressure (SLP) and surface air temperature (SAT) data sets obtained from the 1x, 2x and 4x CO2 equilibrium simulations of the GFDL coupled model.

One of the goals of this project was to verify the hypothesis that the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and other dominant patterns of variability remain important in climates with higher greenhouse gas concentrations. The AO was found to dominate the variability of the SLP field in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere and this pattern remains important in climates with higher greenhouse gas concentrations. Similarly, other dominant patterns of variability in SLP remain important in the different climates. On the other hand, the dominant patterns of variability in SAT do not remain important in the different climates, since these modes are related to variations in sea ice extent that changes substantially in warmer climates. However, using an approach that standardises the variance, other modes of SAT variability unrelated to sea ice are found that remain important in the warmer climates.

Another goal of this project was to determine if climate change induced by increased greenhouse gas concentrations projects onto the natural modes of climate variability. Mean changes in the simulated climates induced by higher greenhouse gas concentrations have been projected onto the AO and other patterns of variability. It was found that these changes do not project exclusively onto the AO or any of the other modes.

D. Stone is now proceeding to examine whether changes in climate variability in the warmer climate project onto the AO and other patterns of variability obtained from the present climate, and thus whether the behaviour of these modes changes. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Ron Stouffer at GFDL

9. teleconnections in global OGCM– Completed 31/12/1999

We wished to examine the ocean response (and its internal teleconnections arising from NADW perturbations) to global warming radiative perturbations. As such, E. Wiebe and I undertook a sensitivity analysis using the coupled model to investigate the effect of various ocean mixing schemes on the ocean’s response to global warming. Our experiments have revealed the fascinating result (supported by recent observations) that there is a significant intrusion of warmed Atlantic water into the sub-surface Arctic Ocean during the initial response to the radiative forcing. In the southern hemisphere, we find that the particular mixing scheme used plays a significant role in the strength of the response of the sea surface temperature (SST). Wiebe and Weaver (1999); Weaver and Wiebe (1999).

10. simple models of decadal variability – In progress

This objective is ongoing and initial analysis has been discussed in the year 2 progress report. I recently developed a simple model for decadal variability in the Pacific. Since ENSO is a nonlinear coupled tropical atmosphere-ocean phenomenon, it is possible that decadal modulation of ENSO and its subsequent teleconnection to the North Pacific could explain the observed low frequency variability there. As pointed out by Gu and Philander a delayed negative feedback can be achieved through extratropical subduction of thermal anomalies (generated through the atmospheric teleconnection response to equatorial SST anomalies) which slowly propagate along isopycnals towards the equator where they reverse the sign of equatorial SSTs. A simple delayed oscillator model (involving the Battisti/Hirst model) was developed to understand mechanisms for tropical/subtropical interactions and interdecadal variability. One of the parameters that is assumed to be constant in the Battisti and Hirst model is the pycnocline depth. By adding a meridional delay (through pycnocline subduction) to the equatorial pycnocline depth we found a potential mechanism for ENSO modulation. Weaver (1999).

11. project completion – In progress

Publication of research results in the primary literature is ongoing. Below is a list of publications supported by the NSERC Strategic Grant to date.

Publications Supported by NSERC Strategic 1997—to date

1. Murdock, TQ, AJ Weaver, AF Fanning, 1997: Paleoclimatic response of the closing of the Isthmus of Panama in a coupled ocean-atmosphere model. Geophys. Res. Lett., 24, 253—256.

2. Weaver, AJ, M Eby, 1997: On the numerical implementation of advection schemes for use in conjunction with various mixing parameterizations in the GFDL ocean model. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 27, 369—377.

3. Fanning, AF, AJ Weaver, 1997: Temporal-geographical meltwater influences on the North Atlantic conveyor: Implications for the Younger Dryas, Paleoceanogr., 12, 307—320.

4. Fanning, AF, AJ Weaver, 1997: A horizontal resolution and parameter sensitivity study of heat transport in an idealized coupled climate model, J. Clim., 10, 2469—2478.

5. Fanning, AF, AJ Weaver, 1997: On the role of flux adjustments in an idealized coupled model. Clim. Dyn., 13, 691—701.

6. Giorgi, F, GA Meehl, A Kattenberg, H Grassl, JFB Mitchell, RJ Stouffer, T Tokioka, AJ Weaver, TML Wigley, 1998: Simulation of regional climate change with global coupled climate models and regional modeling techniques. In: The Regional Impacts of Climate Change, An Assessment of Vulnerability. A special report of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Watson, RT, MC Zinyowera, RH Moss Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, pp. 427—437.

7. Fanning, AF, AJ Weaver, 1998: Thermohaline variability: The effects of horizontal resolution and diffusion. J. Clim.,11, 709—715.

8. Weaver, AJ, S Valcke, 1998: On the variability of the thermohaline circulation in the GFDL coupled model. J. Clim., 11, 759—767.

9. Weaver, AJ, M Eby, AF Fanning, EC Wiebe, 1998: Simulated influence of carbon dioxide, orbital forcing and ice sheets on the climate of the last glacial maximum. Nature, 394, 847—853.

10. Weaver, AJ, C Green, 1998: Global climate change: Lessons from the past – policy for the future. Ocean Coast. Manag., 39, 73—86.

11. Weaver, AJ, CM Bitz, AF Fanning, MM Holland, 1999: Thermohaline circulation: High latitude phenomena and the difference between the Pacific and Atlantic. Ann. Rev. Earth. Plan. Sci., 27, 231—285.

12. National Research Council, 1999: Global Ocean Science: Toward an Integrated Approach. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 165pp.

13. Weaver, AJ, 1999: Extratropical subduction and decadal modulation of El Niño. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 743—746.

14. Huck, T, A Colin de Verdière, AJ Weaver, 1999: Interdecadal variability of the thermohaline circulation in box-ocean models forced by fixed surface fluxes. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 29, 893—910.

15. Huck, T, AJ Weaver, A Colin de Verdière, 1999: On the influence of the parameterisation of lateral boundary layers on the thermohaline circulation in coarse-resolution ocean models. J. Mar. Res., 57, 387—426.

16. Duffy, PB, M Eby, AJ Weaver, 1999: Effects of sinking of salt rejected during formation of sea ice on results of a global ocean-atmosphere-sea ice climate model. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 1739-1742.

17. Poussart, PF, AJ Weaver, CR Barnes, 1999: Late Ordovician glaciation under high atmospheric CO2: A coupled model analysis. Paleoceanogr., 14, 542—558.

18. Weaver, AJ, 1999: Millennial timescale variability in ocean/climate models. In: Mechanisms of Global Climate Change at Millennial Time Scales. Webb RS, PU Clark, LD Keigwin Eds., AGU, Geophys. Mon. 112, Washington, D.C., pp. 285—300.

19. Wiebe, EC, AJ Weaver, 1999: On the sensitivity of global warming experiments to the parametrisation of sub-grid scale ocean mixing. Clim. Dyn., 15, 875—893.

20. Weaver, AJ, EC Wiebe, 1999: On the sensitivity of projected oceanic thermal expansion to the parameterisation of sub-grid scale ocean mixing. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 3461—3464.

21. Weaver, AJ, PB Duffy, M Eby, EC Wiebe, 2000: Evaluation of ocean and climate models using present-day observations and forcing. Atmos.-Ocean, in press.

22. Rutter, NW, AJ Weaver, D Rokosh, AF Fanning, DG Wright, 2000: Is the Younger Dryas a global event? Can. J. Earth Sci., in press.

23. Flato, GM, GJ Boer, NA McFarlane, D Ramsden, MC Reader, AJ Weaver, 2000: The Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis global coupled model and its climate. Clim. Dyn., in press.

24. Stone, DA, AJ Weaver, FW Zwiers, 2000: Trends in Canadian precipitation intensity. Atmos.-Ocean, in press.

25. Holland, MM, AJ Brasket, AJ Weaver, 2000: The impact of rising atmospheric CO2 on low frequency North Atlantic climate variability. Geophys. Res. Lett., in press.

26. Duffy, PB, M Eby, AJ Weaver, 2000: Climate model simulations of effects of increased atmospheric CO2 and loss of sea ice on ocean salinity and tracer uptake. J. Clim., in press.

27. Holland, MM, CM Bitz, M Eby, AJ Weaver, 2000: The role of ice ocean interactions in the variability of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation. J. Clim., in press.

28. Wang, H, PB Duffy, K Caldeira, M Eby, AJ Weaver, AF Fanning, 2000: Importance of water vapor transport to the hydrological cycle in an atmospheric energy-moisture balance model coupled to an OGCM. J. Geophys. Res., submitted.

29. Bitz, CM, MM Holland, AJ Weaver, M Eby, 2000: Simulating the ice-thickness distribution in a coupled climate model. J. Geophys. Res., submitted.

30. Yoshimori, M, AJ Weaver, SJ Marshall, GKC Clarke, 2000: Glacial termination: Sensitivity to orbital and CO2 forcing in a coupled climate system model. Clim. Dyn., submitted.

31. McLaughlin, F, E Carmack, R Macdonald, AJ Weaver, J Smith, 2000: The Canada Basin 1989-1995: Upstream events and far-field effects of the Barents Sea branch. J. Geophys. Res., submitted.

7. Problems Encountered

No major problems have been encountered with respect to addressing the objectives of my proposal. In the first year of the grant, partner contributions were the same as in my original proposal with the exception of NOAA. I received $80,940 from NOAA in the first year (as opposed to my projected $41,100 contribution in the original proposal). I was also granted a one year no-cost extension to the project (ending Dec. 31, 1998). Unfortunately, the NOAA project in the ocean’s role in climate was not renewed for future funding. This was not due to a lack of progress but rather due to NOAA regulations regarding the funding of non-US applicants. As such, NOAA was replaced by LLNL as a new US partner for this project and they committed money ($29,610) and a substantial in-kind contribution in Year 3 (see section 8). The CCAF have also been added as a new partner in this research

8. Partnerships and Collaboration

Funding from the CICS has increased through the life of the project. In 1999 they committed to a funding level of $200,000 per year for the last two years of the Strategic. This new funding is targeted for the Arctic variability/modelling component of my proposal, as detailed earlier, and involves collaboration with G. Flato (CCCma), L. Mysak (McGill) and E. Carmack (IOS). In addition IBM Canada contributed (via an international Shared University Research Grant) an IBM SP2 with 6 thin nodes and a high speed switch. This was the only award IBM International made in Canada and represents a donation of $565,895 (list price) or $339,537 (best customer 40% discounted price) worth of hardware. UVic agreed to cover the IBM Consortium site license software charges and so I have not incurred any expenses in the acquisition of this machine. I have listed the in kind hardware contribution but not the university software contribution in the table above. IBM also granted three researchers at UVic (R. Sobie [lead], N. Dimopoulos and me as co-PIs) a second IBM SUR grant that translates to a $480,000 ($800,000) list price in-kind contribution. This SUR grant was used to acquire an 8 processor IBM SP with 1 GB RAM each, 1/2TB of SSA disk and a control workstation.

My NSERC Strategic project has initiated many new collaborations as well as allowed me to build upon existing collaborations. I will outline these below under different partner headings.

LLNL: Collaboration with Dr. P. Duffy is detailed elsewhere in this report. We are also working with P. Eltgroth to develop a parallel version of all subcomponents of our coupled model. Dr. Eltgroth visited our lab last year.

IBM: IBM Canada is a company that is committed to the environment and so was eager to fund my research. In addition, IBM benefits from having our research group as one of the first to use their new parallel technology in climate modelling. As we have made our code available to the international climate modelling community, IBM stands to take advantage of future business opportunities as other researchers who will use our code invest in parallel architecture.

CICS: CICS collaboration involves working together with other researchers across Canada both in the Climate Variability node and the Arctic Node. Of central importance to CICS is the close collaboration between my group and the CCCma (CICS funds my research to improve their and the CCCma climate prediction capability).

CCCma: As detailed in section 10, the relationship between CCCma and my research group is unique and very stimulating. Researchers in my group interact with CCCma researchers on a daily basis. My research group undertakes research into improving our understanding of the ocean and ice components of coupled models whereas their group focuses mainly on the atmosphere and ice components. The CCCma has provided me with computational resources when we undertake sensitivity analyses for them with our models. I provide library facilities for the CCCma. We also supervise a number of students jointly. CCCma researchers also teach a course on numerical methods which was almost exclusively filled with my students.

CCAF: CCAF have committed $150,000 total, for the last two years of the award. Communication with the CCAF occurs through annual progress reports. CCAF research funding is targeted in strategic areas to assist the federal government reduce the uncertainties and understand the impacts of climate change. They are particularly interested in facilitating interactions with the CCCma and their funding supports a research associate who are working closely with CCCma staff.

Other: Extensive collaborations exist with researchers at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University as we move towards a further understanding of the variability in their coupled model. In addition we have distributed the UVic coupled model now to 26 national and international (from Argentina, Chile, China, Croatia, Germany, Japan, Korea, UK, USA) researchers.

9. Training of Research Personnel

I am presently supervising 2 MSc students, 6 PhD students.









L. Waterman




D. Stone




K. Hill




M. Roth




T. Ewen




M. Cottet-Puinel




G. Arfeuille




M. Yoshimori




The NSERC Strategic grant (together with the partners) supported nine students who have received their degrees. Trevor Murdock has taken up a position within CICS (a partner for this project) in the development of seasonal climate forecast products. Daniel Robitaille is now employed by another of my partners (the CCCma) and is in charge of running the CCCma coupled model.


Present Affiliation


Present Affiliation

Daniel Robitaille

MSc 1997

Research Associate


Olaf Dravnieks

MSc 2000

Systems Engineer


Trevor Murdock

MSc 1997

Technique Development


Augustus Fanning

PhD 1997

Assistant Professor

University of Victoria

Edward Wiebe

MSc 1998

Systems Manager

My Lab

Thierry Huck

PhD 1997

CNRS Research Scientist


Pascale Poussart

MSc 1999

PhD Student

Harvard University

Fiona McLaughlin

PhD 2000

Research Scientist


Daithi Stone

MSc 1999

PhD Student

My lab


I currently supervise six research associates. Four others were supported through this project.

Postdoctoral/Research Associates – Present

Funding Source

Postdoctoral/Research Associates – Past

Present Affiliation

Michael Eby


Sophie Valcke

Research Scientist,

Edward Wiebe

NSERC Operating


CERFACS, Toulouse

Andreas Schmittner


Sheng Zhang

Research Associate,

Oleg Saenko



Dalhousie University.

Katrin Meissner


Marika Holland

Research Scientist,

Harper Simmons





Cecilia Bitz

Research Associate,


University Washington

10. Accessibility of Results to Supporting Organizations

My five partners for this research are: CICS, CCCma, LLNL, IBM Canada and now the CCAF. Each of these partners shares in the research objectives yet each of them is communicated and interacted with in different ways.

The CICS has recently shifted its support from my original ocean modelling and climate variability areas to the new Arctic area. Last year they awarded me (and my collaborators E. Carmack, G. Flato and L. Mysak) three year funding at a rate of $200,000 per year in support of this research. Communication with CICS takes many forms. I prepare semi-annual progress reports and attend semi-annual workshops on climate variability. In addition, a former MSc student (Trevor Murdock) works for CICS in developing improved seasonal forecast products and we frequently communicate electronically. I also presented at a CICS sponsored workshop on Seafood Sustainability in a Changing Climate in May, 2000.

Communication with the CCCma is handled less formally but very regularly as the federal laboratory is located in the same hallway as my lab. Researchers in my group and the CCCma are in constant (daily) communication. Together we run a Topics in Atmosphere and Ocean (TAO) formal seminar series. In addition, CCCma researchers sit on the graduate committees of all my students. G. Flato (CCCma) and I are Co-PIs on both the CICS and CCAF funding for this strategic research, and co-supervise a number of students and O. Saenko.

Communication with LLNL was formally established via a contract that assisted in the salary of my Research Associate Michael Eby and also paid the top up to my salary when I was on sabbatical (and reduced salary). P. Duffy spent August 1998 in Victoria and I visited LLNL in the fall of 1998. We have transferred code between our labs electronically and no problems have arisen to date. Tracy Ewen is also incorporating an ocean carbon cycle model which was developed at LLNL (by K. Caldeira) into our coupled model. In addition, we are working with P. Eltgroth at LLNL towards developing a fully parallel version of our code.

Communication with IBM Canada is achieved through periodic meetings with IBM representatives (specifically H. Leiserson and G. Schick. They have also asked that I periodically send them reprints and copies of my research progress reports. IBM has in turn written up a long description of my research in their IBM Visions magazine and periodically advertise the developments and advances we have made using IBM technology.

11. Potential Benefits

The research supported by my strategic project has immediate benefits to society through an understanding of climate and climate change/variability and the processes involved in it. For example, Canada has recently made commitments under the Kyoto Accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is only through continued research that we will understand what effects these (and other nations’) greenhouse gas reductions will have. I am in communication with a number of oil and gas companies in Alberta regarding the means by which they will attain Canada’s committed reduction and whether or not these are realizable. In particular, in January 2000 I made a presentation to the SUNCOR Board of Directors on climate change (3 days later they publicly announced a commitment to spend 100 million on alternate energy technology). I also participate in international efforts (including the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) at summarizing our present knowledge of these issues for policy makers. My strategic project does not only entail research into global climate change but also into the investigation of predictability of climate on the decadal timescale. Large-scale climatic features (such as ENSO and the NAO) cause significant effects on climate variability in Canada. Understanding their predictability on decadal timescale is of utmost societal importance. T. Murdock is now working in CICS to convert basic research into improved seasonal climate forecasts.

The training of highly qualified personnel through this strategic will provides for a new generation of educated young Canadians in the area of climate science. Many Canadian industries (e.g., oil and gas, forestry) are looking to hire bright young climate scientists (witness the recent hiring of my MSc student O. Dravnieks by Nortel Networks). Unfortunately we are unable to meet the growing demand. Canadian industry is also demanding that the Canadian government make informed policy decisions regarding climate mitigation strategies based on Canadian based science. They are eager to participate in a process that ensures that this is accomplished as they stand to suffer enormous economic costs in attempts to meet mandatory emission reductions (for example). The research conducted by my group is therefore key to reducing the uncertainty and increasing the predictability of climate and climate change and hence benefit Canadian industry through their ability to make more informed decisions regarding climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Finally, I am committed to educating the public regarding issues concerning climate and climate variability. I am constantly approached by the national (and international) media and believe it is important to convey my research to them in an attempt to educate the public so that they understand the issues that we as a global society are facing.

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