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Scientists and policy makers advocate for regional climate-modelling body in Ontario

Feb 24, 2010

(TORONTO - February 24, 2010) Climate modelling in Ontario is reaching a tipping point as funding wanes, and organizational partnerships are needed to make the most of expertise and resources. Earlier this month, York University and Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) co-hosted a climate science workshop on the state of Ontario's regional climate modelling capacity that was attended by Ontario's top environmental experts including: scientists, representatives from local conservation authorities, climate scientists working in the private sector, researchers from 11 universities, and policy makers from federal, provincial, and municipal governments.

The workshop's focus group on regional climate modelling concluded that Ontario needs to increase its capacity for regional climate modelling while developing effective climate change adaptation strategies for the Province and its municipalities. To achieve this, the workshop participants are advocating for a regional climate modelling group among Ontario's universities, government agencies, and private sector. In the weeks ahead, a small ad-hoc regional climate modeling committee will work to establish such an agreement. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority has agreed to coordinate the process.

"Disseminating climate data and impact analysis to municipalities and communities is at the forefront of TRCA's climate change agenda," said Brian Denney, TRCA's chief administrative officer. "TRCA is committed to collaborating on regional efforts to accelerate climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts."

Designed to share information about climate modelling and adaptation research in Ontario, the workshop also addressed Ontario's 2009 Expert Panel on Climate Adaptation report. The report called for the province to enhance its climate science resources and climate simulation technology to give government ministries the tools and information needed to make better and more informed decisions.

"Climate change is among the biggest challenges facing governments at all levels in the 21st century," said Stan Shapson, York's vice-president research & innovation and among the event's hosts. "We need new ways to work together with government to address the complex issues that climate change raises across a variety of sectors. Ontario has a lot of climate research and scientific work already in progress-it's important to find new ways to harness this research more effectively and efficiently by cultivating connections between researchers, the public, and the private sector to better inform policy decisions."

At the workshop, Daniel Caya, OURANOS' director of climate science, emphasized the need to secure long-term funding and partner commitment to ensure that resource and effort demanding projects like this one have the time and resources required to develop accurate data and climate models.  Regional Climate Modeling for impacts and adaptation are much more demanding in resources than when it's done in pure curiosity driven research. Other speakers emphasized the importance of international and national collaboration when developing regional climate models for Ontario. 

A detailed list of conference speakers and their presentations can be downloaded at (13.4 mb)

Toronto and Region Conservation

With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at


York University

York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada's most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 200,000 alumni worldwide. York's 10 Faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.




For media information:

Rowena Calpito, Supervisor, Media Management, Toronto and Region ConservationT: 416.661.6600 ext 5632; C: 416-358-3446 E:          

Elizabeth Monier-Williams, Research Communications, York University, 416 736 2100 x21069 /


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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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