Providing Regional Climate Services to British Columbia

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PCIC Director Gives Invited Public Lecture at CMOS

PCIC Director Francis Zwiers delivered a public lecture on June 6th, at the 51st annual congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) in Toronto. He was invited to discuss extreme weather events and to what extent anthropogenic climate change may be affecting their occurrence. His talk, Changing weather extremes - why it isn’t an “alternative fact,” given to an audience of about 250 people, was bookended with a discussion of communication. He began by discussing how we talk about facts versus the information that they convey and ended with a discussion of science communication opportunities linked to extreme events and some thoughts on what scientists could do to improve their communication with the general public. Dr. Zwiers talked about the long-term trends in extreme events, covered some examples, such as changes in temperature and precipitation extremes, and talked about the detection and attribution of anthropogenic influences on these events generally and some specific, recent extreme events in particular. The recent events discussed were the wildfire at Fort McMurray in 2016, the Calgary flood of 2013 and the record low Arctic sea ice cover of 2012. The talk also served as an occasion for the general public to meet and talk with some of the scientists who are studying climate change and its impacts. The slides from his presentation are available, here.

Related to this event, Dr. Zwiers was also interviewed in the second podcast for the event, in which he discussed a number of topics, including the attribution of these extremes events, risks from climate change, adaptation and mitigation and some of the work being done at PCIC.