Professor of Physics
Chair of Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences, UTM
Department of Physics
Physics of the Climate System
Physical processes that occur in the atmosphere and the ocean fascinate me. My research focuses on understanding these processes as they are manifested in a variety of weather and climate related phenomenon.
We are hampered in our attempt to characterize climate variability (natural or anthropogenic) by the relatively short length of the most instrumental meteorological records. I use ice cores from high elevation sites in both Canada and the Himalaya to provide a longer term perspective on variability in the climate system.
2) High Latitude Air-Sea Interaction
The high latitude ocean is a region where there is a significant transfer of energy from the ocean to the atmosphere. In the atmosphere, this transfer triggers convective activity that can result in high winds, heavy seas and heavy precipitation. In the ocean, it leads to a densification of the surface waters that can, in a few locations, result in sinking of surface waters to great depths in the ocean. This process is an important component of the ocean's thermohaline circulation. We investigate this interaction through fieldwork, where we use instrumented research aircraft to directly measure this transfer, as well as through the use of computer models.
3) Impact of Weather on High Altitude Human Physiology
This work, which lies at the interface of meteorology and physiology, is attempting to quantify the impact the pressure drop associated with the passage of high impact weather systems have on the physiology and performance of mountain climbers. Above 7000m, the partial pressure of oxygen is so low as to be barely sufficient to support life. In this research, we attempt to quantify the impact that weather, such as a reduction in pressure or an increase in wind speed, has on high altitude physiology and performance. In the course of this research, we have performed fieldwork on both Mount Everest and Mount Logan.