Providing Regional Climate Services to British Columbia

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Francis Zwiers

Director, President and CEO

Dr. Francis Zwiers is director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) at the University of Victoria. His former roles include chief of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis and director of the Climate Research Division, both at Environment and Climate Change Canada. As a research scientist, his expertise is in the application of statistical methods to the analysis of observed and simulated climate variability and change. Dr. Zwiers is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Meteorological Society, a recipient of the Patterson Medal and President’s Prize, has served as an IPCC Coordinating Lead Author of the Fourth Assessment Report and as an elected member of the IPCC Bureau for the Fifth Assessment Report.

  • PhD, Department of Mathematics (Statistics), Dalhousie University
  • MSc, Department of Mathematics (Statistics), Acadia University
  • BMath, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo
Selected Publications: 
Refereed and Equivalent Publications
  • Kharin, V.V., G.M. Flato, X. Zhang, N.P. Gillett, F.W. Zwiers, K. Anderson, 2017: Risks from climate extremes change differently from 1.5C to 2.0C depending on rarity. Submitted, Nature Communications.
  • Sillmann, J., T.L. Thoranisdottir, N. Schaller, L. Alexander, G.C. Hegerl, S.I. Seneviratne, R. Vautard, X. Zhang, F.W. Zwiers, 2017: Understanding, modeling and predicting weather and climate extremes: Challenges and opportunities. Submitted, Weather and Climate Extremes.
  • Naveau, P., A. Ribes, F.W. Zwiers, A. Hannart, A. Tuel, P. Yiou, 2017: Revising return periods for record events in the climate event attribution context. Submitted, Journal of Climate.
  • Li, G., X. Zhang, A. Cannon, T. Murdock, S. Sobie, F.W. Zwiers, K. Anderson, B. Qian, 2016: Indices of Canada's future climate for general and agricultural adaptation applications. In revision, Climatic Change.
  • Ben Alaya, M.A., F.W. Zwiers, X. Zhang, 2017: Probable maximum precipitation: its estimation and uncertainty quantification using bivariate extreme value analysis. In revision, Journal of Hydrometeorology.
  • Mueller, B.L., N.P. Gillett, A. Monahan, F.W. Zwiers, 2017: Attribution of Arctic sea ice decline from 1953 to 2012 to influences from natural, greenhouse gas and anthropogenic aerosol forcing. In revision, Journal of Climate.
  • Wan, H., X. Zhang, F.W. Zwiers, 2017: Human influence on Canadian temperatures. In revision, Climate Dynamics.
  • Curry, C.L. and F.W. Zwiers, 2017: Examining controls on peak annual stream flow and floods in the Fraser River Basin of British Columbia. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci, doi:10.5194/hess-2017-531, published for discussion (under review).
  • Kushner, P.J., L. Mudryk, W. Merry eld, J.T. Ambadan, A. Berg, A. Bichet, R. Brown, C.P. Dersken, S.J. Dery, A. Dirkson, G. Flato, C. Fletcher, J. Fyfe, N. Gillett, C. Haas, S. Howell, F. Laliberte, K. McCusker, M. Sigmond, R. Sospedra-Alfonso, N. Tandon, C. Thackeray, B. Tremblay, F.W. Zwiers, 2017: Assessment of Snow, Sea Ice, and Related Climate Processes in Canadas Earth System Model and Climate Prediction System. The Cryosphere, doi:10.5194/tc-2017-157, published for discussion (under review).
  • Li, C., X. Zhang, F.W. Zwiers, Y. Fang, A.M. Michalak, 2017: Recent very hot summers in northern hemispheric land areas measured by wet bulb globe temperature will be the norm within 20 years. Accepted, Earth's Future.
  • Shrestha, R., A.J. Cannon, M.A. Schnorbus, F.W. Zwiers, 2017: Projecting future nonstationary extreme stream flow for the Fraser River, Canada. Accepted, Climatic Change.
  • Najafi, M.R., F.W. Zwiers and N.P. Gillett, 2016: Attribution of Observed Stream flow Changes in key British Columbia Drainage Basins. Accepted, Geophysical Research Letters.
  • Pingree-Shippee, K., F.W. Zwiers, D. Atkinson, 2017: Representation of Canadian Coastal Storm Activity by Six Global Reanalyses. Accepted, International Journal of Climatology.
  • Stott, P.A., D.J. Karoly, F.W. Zwiers, 2017: Is the choice of statistical paradigm critical in extreme event attribution studies? Climatic Change, 144, 143-150, doi:10.1007/s10584-017-2049-2.
  • Kirchmeier-Young, M., F.W. Zwiers, N.P. Gillett and A.J. Cannon, 2017: Attributing Extreme Fire Risk in Western Canada to Human Influences. Climatic Change, doi:10.1007/s10584-017-2030-0.
  • Seiler, C., F.W. Zwiers, K.I. Hodges, J.F. Scinocca, 2017: How does dynamical downscaling affect model biases and future projections of explosive extratropical cyclones along North Americas Atlantic coast? Climate Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s00382-017-3634-9.
  • Zhang, X., F.W. Zwiers, G. Li, H. Wan, A.J. Cannon, 2017: Complexity in estimating past and future extreme short-duration rainfall. Nature Geosciences, dooi:10.1038/NGEO2911.
  • Kirchmeier-Young, M.C., F.W. Zwiers, N.P. Gillett, 2017: Attribution of Extreme Events in Arctic Sea-Ice Extent. Journal of Climate, 30, 553-571, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0412.1
  • Boer, G.J., D.M. Smith, C. Cassou, F. Doblas-Reyes, G. Danabasoglu, B. Kirtman, Y. Kushnir, M. Kimoto, G.A. Meehl, R. Msadek, W.A. Mueller, K. Taylor, F.W. Zwiers, 2016: The Decadal Climate Prediction Project. Geoscientific Model Development, doi:10.5194/gmd-2016-78.
  • Teufel, B., G.T. Diro, K. Whan, S.M. Milrad, D.I. Jeong, A. Ganji, O. Huziy, K. Winger, E. Montero, J.R. Gyakum, R. de Elia, F.W. Zwiers, L. Sushama, 2016: Investigation of the 2013 Alberta Flood from a weather/climate perspective. Climate Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s00382-016-3239-8.
  • Weller, D., , S.-K. Min, W. Cai, F.W. Zwiers, Y.H. Kim and D. Lee, 2015: Human-caused Indo-Pacific warm pool expansion. Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1501719.
  • Whan, K. and F.W. Zwiers, 2016: The impact of ENSO and the NAO on extreme winter precipitation in North America in observations and regional climate models. Climate Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s00382-016-3148-x.
  • Kumar, S., F.W. Zwiers, P.A. Dirmeyer, D.M. Lawrence., R. Shrestha, and A. Werner, 2016: Terrestrial Contribution to the Heterogeneity in Hydrological Changes under Global Warming. Water Resources Research, doi:10.1002/2016WR018607
  • Schar, C., N. Ban, E.M. Fischer, J. Rajczak, J. Schmidli, C. Frei, F. Giorgi, T.R. Karl, E.J. Kendon, A.M.G. Klein Tank, P.A. O'Gorman, J Sillmann, X. Zhang, F.W. Zwiers, 2016: Percentile indices for assessing changes in heavy precipitation events. Climatic Change, doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1669-2.
  • Ribes, A., F.W. Zwiers, J.-M. Azais, P. Naveau, 2016: A new statistical approach to climate change detection and attribution. Climate Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s00382-016-3079-6.
  • Mueller, B., X. Zhang, F.W. Zwiers, 2016: Historically hottest summers projected to be the norm for more than half of the worlds population by 2034. Environmental Research Letters, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/044011.
  • Sun, Y., X, Zhang, G. Ren, F.W. Zwiers, T. Hu, 2016: Contribution of urbanization to warming in China. Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2956.
  • Najafi, M.R., F.W. Zwiers, N.P. Gillett, 2016: Attribution of the Spring Snow Cover Extent Decline in Northern Hemisphere, Eurasia and North America to Anthropogenic Influence. Climatic Change, doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1632-2.
  • Whan, K., F.W. Zwiers, J. Sillmann, 2016: The influence of atmospheric blocking on extreme winter minimum temperatures in North America. Journal of Climate, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0493.1.
  • Salimun, E., F. Tangang, L. Juneng, F.W. Zwiers, W.J Merryfield, 2016: Skill evaluation of CanCM4 for seasonal climate forecast over Malaysia during the early and late winter monsoon periods. International Journal of Climatology, 36, 439-454, doi:10.1002/joc.4361.
Books, Chapters, Short Communications and Similar Publications
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/21852. (Zwiers was a committee member).
  • Zhang, X., F.W. Zwiers, 2015: Observed and Projected Changes in Temperature and Precipitation Extremes. in Dynamics and predictability of large-scale high-impact weather and climate events,
    Jianping Li, Richard Swinbank, Hans Volkert and Richard Grotjahn, eds., Cambridge University Press, in press.
  • Zwiers, F.W., G.C. Hegerl, X. Zhang, Q.H. Wen, 2014: Quantifying the Human and Natural Contributions to Observed Climate Change. In Statistics in Action: A Canadian Outlook, J.F. Lawless, ed., Chapman & Hall/CRC, ISBN: 9781482236231, pp349-370. 
  • Zwiers, F.W., L.V. Alexander, G.C. Hegerl, T.R. Knutson, J. Kossin, P. Naveau, N. Nicholls, C. Schär, S.I. Seneviratne and X. Zhang, 2013: Challenges in Estimating and Understanding Recent Changes in the Frequency and Intensity of Extreme Climate and Weather Events. In (Climate Science for Serving Society: Research, Modelling and Prediction Priorities, G. Asrar and J. Hurrell, eds.), 339-389, doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6692-1 13.
  • Kirtman, B., S. Power, et al (Zwiers is listed as a Review Editor), 2013: Near-term Climate Change: Projections and Predictability. In Working Group I Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Chapter 11, T. Stocker, et al., eds., Cambridge University Press.
  • Collins, M., et al (Zwiers is listed as a member of the Advisory Board), 2013: Atlas of Global and Regional Climate Projections. In Working Group I Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Annex I, T. Stocker, et al., eds., Cambridge University Press.
  • Zhang, X, F.W. Zwiers, 2013: Statistical indices for the diagnosing and detecting changes in extremes. In In Hydrologic extremes in a changing climate: detection, analysis and uncertainty (AghaKouchak, A., D. Easterling, K. Hsu, S. Schubert, and S. Sorooshian, eds.,), Springer-Verlag, pp 1-14, doi:10.1007/978-94-007-4479-0 1.
  • Zwiers, F.W. and H. von Storch, 2012: Regional Climate Services Workshop 2011. EOS, 93, doi:10.1029/2012EO230009.
  • Seneviratne, S.I., N. Nicholls, et el (Zwiers is listed as a Contributing Author), 2012: Changes in climate extremes and their impacts on the natural Physical environment. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 109-230.
  • Zwiers, F.W. and G. Bürger, 2012: Climate change scenarios for impacts assessment. In Encyclopedia of Environmetrics, 2nd Edition [El-Shaarawi, A.H. and W.W. Piegorsch (eds.)], ISBN: 978-0-470-97388-2.
  • Zwiers, F.W., M.A. Schnorbus and G.D. Maruszeczka, 2011: Hydrologic Impacts of Climate Change on BC Water Resources: Summary Report for the Campbell, Columbia and Peace River Watersheds. Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium. Available at Zwiers.H....
  • Hegerl, G.C., F.W. Zwiers, and P.A. Stott, 2011: Detection and Attibution of Climate Change. In Encyclopaedia of Climate and Weather, 2nd Edition, S.J. Schneider and M. Mastendrea, Eds. Oxford University Press. e-reference edition available at entry?entry=t323.e133.