William A. Gough

Climate Lab at UofT (CL@UT)

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Climate Lab Personnel


Collaborators

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Erin Bryce, PhD - erin.bryce@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Interests:

Dr. Bryce recently completed her PhD from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. She has undergraduate degrees in Biology, Psychology, Anthropology and Economics from McMaster University. Her dissertation research involved synoptic classification of historical weather and modelling the relationship between local-scale weather patterns and human mortality. Her other research interests include environmental health, weather folklore, infectious diseases, demography, and numerical modelling with large data sets.

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Ken Butler, PhD - butler@utsc.utoronto.ca

Research Interests:

Dr Butler is an applied statistician who is greatly interested in how researchers apply statistical methods. He sees it as his job to make sure that Climate Lab members are using sound statistical methods, and he will not rest until everyone is using R! He knows very little about climate (as evidenced by the kind of questions he asks), but is enjoying the learning process.

Adam Fenech

Adam Fenech, PhD - afenech@upei.ca

Research Interests:

Dr. Fenech has worked extensively in the area of climate change for over 25 years starting with the IPCC First Assessment Report. He has edited 7 books on climate change, most recently as editor of the journal on Climate Impacts and Adaptation Science. Dr. Fenech has taught at the University of Toronto since 1998, and lectures regularly at universities across Canada and around the world. Dr. Fenech shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. After almost 25 years as a climate researcher with Environment Canada, Dr. Fenech recently joined the University of Prince Edward Island as the director of the Climate Research Lab.

Monirul Mirza

Monirul Mirza, PhD - monirul.mirza@utoronto.ca

Research Interests:

Dr Monirul Mirza is currently working with the Adaptation and Impacts Research Section (AIRS), Environment Canada as a Physical scientist. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto at Scarborough. He studied in Bangladesh and New Zealand. A Water Resources Engineer, he received his PhD from International Global Change Institute (IGCI), University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand on climate change and flood modeling in Bangladesh. He has been associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-the winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Working Group II since 1997 and contributed as a Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) to its various assessments. He was the only Canadian selected as the Core Writing Team member of the Synthesis Report of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. Currently he is contributing as a Lead Author to the IPCC’s Special Report on Renewable Energy. He is currently contributing to 5th Assessment Report of the IPCC. He also participated in two recent large assessments- the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Integrated Assessment of Agriculture, Science, Technology for Development (IAASTD) commissioned by the World Bank. He is the Executive Editor of ‘Asia Pacific Journal of Environment and Development’ (APJED). His major research interests are: climate change and risks, extreme weather events, quantification of vulnerability and adaptation and statistical hydrology. He teaches a graduate course “Environmental Security and Sustainable Development” at University of Toronto at Scarborough.

ESRI research

Tanzina Mohsin, PhD - tmohsin@utsc.utoronto.ca

Research Interests:

Understanding the climate processes and addressing the challenges linked to climate change issues are the major premises of current research in climate science.  My research focuses on analyzing the past and future changes in climate at regional and local scales. I use historical climate data and numerical modeling approaches to study the changes in climate variables and climate processes in the context of the spatial distribution of urban warming in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). An innovative contribution of my research work is the identification of the differences in urban-rural characteristic of climatic elements. I used a hypothesis that “if there are significant differences in certain criteria between an urban and a rural site then this could be used to identify a suitable urban-rural pair”. Although the sites and settings of urban climate are remarkably diverse, much less diverse are the descriptions of the rural sites used for urban climate study. Since urban climate studies are site specific, therefore, identifying the criteria to characterize the urban-rural landscapes will be useful for future Urban Heal Island (UHI) studies for cities with similar physiographic and climatological characteristics as Toronto (Mohsin and Gough, 2011). From a climate change impact assessment perspective, it is crucial to better understand the impact of climate change at regional and local level for planning the adaptive responses to long term climate change issues. With this basis, I take a step forward by connecting and unifying a number of research domains in climate change science such as climate modeling using downscaling approaches, analysis of micro-climatology and associated physical processes, and Climate Change Impact Assessment.  On e of my current research project is to study the micro-climatology of the green roofs, which provides a way to mitigate the UHI effect, at various locations in the GTA. I have set up weather station to collect temperature, humidity and soil moisture data (see the picture of a sample weather station) to study microclimatology of the green roof and its effect on the energy consumption.

Changwie Xie

Dr. Changwei Xie - cxie@utsc.utoronto.ca

A research scientist is specializing in geocryology and glaciology. I enjoy studying on the thermal and hydraulic regime within the active layer and permafrost by numerical model. I also enjoy working on the change of glaciers and hydrology in cold regions. I have good ability to use computer programs (using FORTRAN and Matlab) to carry out scientific research as well as have rich experience in fieldwork. I have participated in many field trips to study on glaciers and permafrost in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China and Northern Ontario in Canada.

Graduate Students


Shannon Allen

Shannon Allen - shannon.allen@mail.utoronto.ca

PhD Candidate in Geography

Research Interests:

temperature extremes, climate change, urban climate, climate modelling

For my Masters degree I researched changes in extreme temperature trends in the Greater Toronto Area. Results from this were interesting. For my PhD studies I have decided to broaden the scope of the previous project to include four other major Canadian cities. I also would like to improve my knowledge of climate modelling and try to incorporate downscaling and future projections into my work. I also work full time at Environment Canada as a Physical Scientist. I began my work there during my Masters studies in the fall of 2009. My undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. My Masters of Science degree in geography was completed at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Professor William Gough.

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Vidya Anderson -

PhD Candidate in Environmental Science

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Cristian Ches -

PhD Candidate in Geography

Thea Dickinson

Thea Dickinson - thea.dickinson@mail.utoronto.ca

PhD Candidate in Environmental Science

Research Interests:

Climate change adaptation, vulnerability, science-policy interface, risk reduction, climate change impacts, resilience, international policy frameworks, implementation.

Her special interest is in the human and policy dimensions of climate change adaptation and global environmental change.

Micah Hewer - micahjhewer@gmail.com

Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Science

Micah Hewer, PhD, is currently employed as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough, working under the supervision of Professor William Gough and in collaboration with the Climate Lab at UTSC. Dr. Hewer earned his PhD in Physical Geography at the University of Toronto, where we studied the statistical relationship between daily weather and zoo attendance in Toronto and conducted formal climate change impact assessments on visitor attendance to the Toronto Zoo. Previously, he earned a Master of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, where he studied the relationship between weather and camping in Ontario’s provincial parks, while also assessing the potential impacts of projected climate change of park visitation in Ontario. Micah has published several peer-reviewed academic journal articles in the fields of applied climatology and climate change impact assessment, primarily focused on outdoor recreation and tourism in Canada. He was the first of Bill’s graduate students to publish the Gough-Fenech Confidence Index for evaluating and selecting Global Climate Models when performing climate change impact assessments, which he referred to as the “selective ensemble” approach. In collaboration with Professor Gough, Dr. Hewer also helped pioneer a new metric for evaluating and selecting representative weather stations for use in applied climatology case studies, referred to as “climatic distance”.

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Hannah Yukari Hori - y.hori@mail.utoronto.ca

PhD Candidate in Environmental Science

Research Interests:

Aboriginal issues, climate change, climate models, climate variability, community adaptation, James Bay, landfast ice, traditional environmental knowledge, winter roads

My research aims to investigate the potential effects of climate variability and climate change in three areas; first, a temporal trend for the historical opening and closing dates of James Bay winter road; second, current vulnerability of James Bay Cree regarding physical, socio-economic, cultural impacts associated with changing winter roads conditions; third, community adaptability to future change. This research opportunity in my program at UTSC would prepare me for my end goal of a doctoral degree with the specialization of environmental health.

Steven Huryn

Steven Huryn - steven.huryn@mail.utoronto.ca

PhD Candidate in Environmental Science

Research Interests:

Thunderstorm & tornado climatology, ground level ozone in Ontario

Jerry Jien

Jerry Jien - jerry.jien@mail.utoronto.ca

PhD Candidate in Environmental Science

Research Interests:

tropical cyclones, global climate model, climate change impact assessment, environmental factors, large scale climatic patterns

Growing up in Taiwan, I have experienced numerous typhoon days, while enjoying those that had led to the cancellation of class sessions. My research focuses on the climate change impact assessment of eastern North Pacific tropical cyclones and influences of Atlantic hurricanes in climate extremes in Canada. I am interested at the interaction of the variation of tropical cyclone activity to local and large scale climatic changes. Current application of statistical techniques provides certain degree of accuracy on short term forecast of tropical cyclones. Based on the empirical association established in the historical record, I am looking to project how storms would change over time.

Slawomir Kowal

Slawomir Kowal - kowal@utsc.utoronto.ca

MSc Candidate in Geography

Research Interests:

Statistical Trends in the Thaw and Freeze Cycles of Hudson Bay Sea Ice

Andrew Leung

Andrew Leung - andrewc.leung@mail.utoronto.ca

PhD Candidate in Environmental Science

Research Interests:

Andrew completed his B.Sc in biology and environmental science and M.Env.Sc at University of Toronto Scarborough. He is currently pursuing for Ph.D. His doctoral research focuses on the impacts of climate change on air mass patterns and global oscillations in the Canadian arctic. In undergraduate and graduate studies, he researched on the conditions of permafrost in northern Ontario and the frequency and intensity of thunderstorms in Toronto as a result of climate change.

Kinson Leung

Kinson Leung - kinson.leung@mail.utoronto.ca

PhD Candidate in Environmental Science

Research Interests:

There are many factors affecting the air quality of Ontario, Canada. Although industry is one of the major sources of pollution, daily activities such as transportation and residential heating/cooling contribute polluted conditions. My researches involve with analysing the relationship between extreme tropospheric ozone and the spatial climatology of Ontario. In addition, I am also interested in understanding the effect of climate change on extreme tropospheric ozone in the next 50 and 100 years through the process of modelling.

Athena Masson

Athena Masson - athena.masson@mail.utoronto.ca

PhD Candidate in Environmental Science

Research Interests:

Hurricanes, extratropical transitions, natural disasters, meteorology, climate change

Most people would develop a fear of natural disasters after surviving both Hurricane Andrew and the Northridge Earthquake. Athena, on the other, runs towards evolving disasters. She spent her undergraduate years studying in four countries gaining experience in environmental science and meteorology. Athena completed her MSc degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland where she researched extratropical transitions in the North Atlantic with special reference to Hurricane Igor. Currently pursuing her PhD, Athena is focusing on the development of a new hurricane scale that will better classify approaching cyclones for the North Atlantic.

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Peter Ng - peterquincy.ng@utoronto.ca

PhD Candidate in Environmental Science

Research Interests:

Future climate predictions suggest that Canada's climate will become increasingly wetter and warmer throughout the next hundred years. With climate change already triggering species distribution shifts in many parts of the world, this is expected to have profound changes on Ontario's terrestrial ecosystems of which nearly two-thirds are covered by forest. This research which will analyze the effects of climate change on future forest tree species distribution in the Greater Toronto Area. The unique geographic position of Toronto, located in Southern Ontario, has strong lacustrine influences which are too small to be modeled by global climate model output and will require the use of downscaling techniques to accurately simulate its long-term climatic patterns. In addition, the heavily-urbanized corridor of the Greater Toronto Area sits between two unique ecosystems which are largely transitional in nature: the Carolinian Forest and the Mixed-Hardwood Forests. This research hopes to simulate climate change on a regional scale to better predict how tree vegetation in Greater Ontario will change through the next hundred years. The hope of the research is to determine what species will be at risk under future climate change and perhaps serve as a risk assessment to interested stakeholders and planners looking to either maintain or reforest forested ecosystems in an urban surrounding.

Besides his research Peter spends his time volunteering for various ecosystem conservation and restoration projects in the Rouge River Watershed and is also an avid tropical fish hobbyist.

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Cheryl Robertson -

PhD Candidate in Environmental Science

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Rick Sierwierski -

PhD Candidate in Geography

Visiting Graduate Students

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Ni Chen

Northwest University, Xi'an, China

Research Interests:

Climate change impacts, high concentration of carbon dioxide and the effect on soil ions

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Xiangning Fan

Northwest University, Xi'an, China

Recent Graduate Alumni

Vincent Cheng

Vincent Cheng, PhD - chengv@geog.utoronto.ca

Research Interests:

Tornado occurrence and activity, severe storm climatology, applied meteorology/climatology, lake eutrophication, Bayesian inference, spatial analysis and modeling, application of geographic information systems in natural hazards, risk assessment and environmental management

Smriti Das

Smriti Das, MSc - sdas@utsc.utoronto.ca

Research Interests:

Urban Heat Islands, Big Data + Climatology

Peter McGovern
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Helen Goreski - MEnvSci

Peter McGovern, MSc - peter.mcgovern@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Interests:

Sea Ice, Hudson Bay, Ocean-sea ice-atmosphere interaction and effects on coastal air temperatures

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Benita Tam, PhD - benita.tam@gmail.com

Research Interests:

Climate change impacts, environmental health, Aboriginal health, bioclimatology, statistical climatology, mixed-methods research

Andrew Tam

Andrew Tam, PhD - tama@geog.utoronto.ca

Research Interests:

Andrew Tam, PhD, specializes in climatology and permafrost sciences at the University of Toronto Climate Lab in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He received his Master's degree (University of Toronto, Department of Geography) in 2009 and just recently completed the Doctoral program in 2014. His research focuses on climate change impact assessments on potential permafrost distributions along a geographical south-to-north transect from 52.2°N to 82.5°N within Canada. This study area extends from the subarctic region of northern Ontario (Hudson Bay Lowlands) towards the Canadian High Arctic at Alert, Nunavut (Ellesmere Island).

Undergraduate Students

Dianze He
Kristen Herod
Yiki Luo