Hamilton has the potential to be a go-to city for climate change research thanks to McMaster University's new climate centre, said its director Altaf Arain.
"We will provide insight and it will help us to better plan for future climate-extreme events," he said.
"It will provide some links for international collaboration and cross-Canada collaboration."
The university's Centre for Climate Change hosts its inaugural seminar today with extreme climate expert and Order of Canada recipient Gordon McBean.The University of Western Ontario professor will discuss the impacts of climate change on Canada and the country's security. It's the first of a series of seminars and outreach events to come. Research at the centre will focus on seven disciplines, including physical climate, ecosystem impacts, water resources and infrastructure impacts. Located in the school's Burke Science Building, room 318, the centre's one large space is used as a work and meeting space. It holds desks and various resource tools. Most researchers will complete their work in their labs elsewhere on campus. The centre split $1.5 million over 10 years in funding from RBC with two other water-related projects at McMaster. Of that money, it will receive a minimum of $250,000, which will go toward hosting public outreach activities. McMaster finances the centre's office operations on campus. The other RBC-funded projects include the Urban-Rural Biomonitoring Assessment Network, or URBAN, which engages volunteers to report on local ecosystems. An outreach program highlighting green mining technology research by Mac geography professor Lesley Warren is also in the works. The funding for all three projects was announced in October. Whether it's hurricanes, ice storms or extreme rainfall, Canada's not immune from severe climate change, Arain said.
"In Canada, we see more drought compared to the past many years," he said. "It has increased the fire frequency in the northern areas."
Climate change affects health, the economy and infrastructure, he added. Mike Waddington, the centre's associate director, said he hopes the seminar will reverse people's denial of climate change, which he calls "the most important environmental issue of the 21st century."
"Climate change is real," he said. "Humans are altering the world's global climate.
"It's our responsibility to get that information to the public."
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