Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/5/2010 (3442 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba and Greenland teamed up Monday to explore why Arctic sea and glacier ice is melting so quickly.
And the two main researchers heading up the $35-million project say one of their first tasks is to deal with those who claim man-made climate change is a bunch of hooey.
"There is still a lot of unknowns," said Søren Rysgaard, head of the Greenland Climate Research Centre at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. "If people think that everything is known about climate, they're totally wrong. There is a lot of things we don't know."
Said University of Manitoba Prof. David Barber, director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS): "When the balance of evidence is so clearly pointing in one direction, you would be silly not to listen to what that science is telling you.''
"I avoid getting into scientific debates with people who aren't scientific. I can meet somebody who says, 'You know what? The Earth is only 6,000 years old. Some people firmly believe that. I do not. I deal with what I believe is the real situation and I try to inform the public about that."
Rysgaard was introduced Monday as the chairholder of the new Canada Excellence Research Chair in Arctic Geomicrobiology and Climate Change based at the U of M.
Over the next seven years, the joint research project will receive $10 million in funding from Ottawa, $3.5 million from the province and $25 million from the U of M and other donors.
The project's goal is to take what's already known about the changing sea and glacier ice in the Far North and expand on it to guide environmental policy and economic development in the North.
U of M president David Barnard said the project will attract more scientists from across the world and further boost the U of M's reputation for sea ice research.
Rysgaard, one of the world's most-cited geomicrobiologists, will join the U of M's CEOS. In his new position, he'll study microbial life in sea ice.
"We're not just doing this for our own knowledge," he said. "This is something that the public needs to know."
Rysgaard's recruitment and the funding will bring the CEOS up from its current 17 researchers to more than 100 people.
It will also see an $8-million expansion to the Wallace Building (geological sciences) to make room. The new space will be named after Nellie Cournoyea, a former premier of the Northwest Territories.
Cournoyea said she was surprised by the honour.
She said she hopes the research leads to a better understanding of the North and benefits the people who live there.
"There's very little information known and we're continuing to make crisis decisions," she said. "We're people of adaptability. We try not to live under delusions that things are going to stay the same. They are not."
Barber, along with more than 300 scientists from around the world, spent last winter on the Canadian Coast Guard research ship Amundsen in the Arctic studying the impact of climate change. It was the first time a research vessel remained mobile in open water during the winter season. The Canadian government provided $156 million in funding for the study.
The ship leaves again July 1 on a six-month expedition of the Arctic to chart changing ice patterns. Researchers and students attached to the project are also examining what's happening in the Antarctic because of climate change.
Barber added a lot of the research won't be on the ship, but in a new lab at the U of M.
"The laboratory facilities we're building because of this will be unique in Canada," Barber said. "We're building a research pond out at Smartpark here on campus that will basically be an in-ground swimming pool that you can put sea water in and freeze it under controlled conditions and do all kinds of experiments on artificial ice that is grown right here in Winnipeg."