Dalhousie University
Canada Maple Leaf
Canada First Research Excellence
Fund 2022 candidate

Transforming
Climate Action

Canada’s goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is urgent and ambitious – but could be derailed by large deviations in the Earth’s largest carbon sink, the ocean. Emerging science is signaling the critical need to understand this risk and its impacts.
Time is shorter than we think to
make our climate goals count.
Time is shorter than we think to make our climate goals count.

Partners

Université du Québec à RimouskiUniversité LavalMemorial University

Taking action

To tackle the urgent need, Dalhousie University, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université Laval, and Memorial University of Newfoundland have brought together expertise in ocean carbon monitoring, climate prediction, climate action and climate justice to:
Reduce uncertainty in ocean carbon cycles by tracking them using an unprecedented global data-driven approach.
Mitigate carbon emissions by leveraging the ocean’s role as a natural carbon sink and harnessing its ability to generate clean energy.
Create just and equitable adaptation policies and tools to help the world adjust to a changing ocean and climate.

Meet the research team

Over the next year, while our Canada First Research Excellence Fund 2022 application is considered, we will introduce you to the world-leading scholars on our research team.
Anya Waite

Anya Waite, Associate Vice President Research (Ocean) and Scientific Director and CEO of the Ocean Frontier Institute, Dalhousie University

Making climate goals count

Dr. Waite is a world-leading researcher drawing the international community’s attention to the risk of omitting the ocean from the formulation of climate targets. She is focused on giving Canada and the world the data we need to ensure our goals to reach net zero carbon emissions are rooted in science and preparing us to tackle the serious challenges ahead.

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There is evidence that the ocean’s ability to filter carbon from the atmosphere is changing. The rate is still unknown, but the fact remains that the processes have the potential to fail. This could jeopardize the credibility of global climate targets and move us further from Canada’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

A Deep Dive with Anya Waite

Dr. Waite sits with Dalhousie President Deep Saini to discuss how the research team will help tackle climate change with support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

Reducing uncertainty

Rachel Chang

Rachel Chang, Canada Research Chair in Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University

Investigating the interplay between ocean, earth and atmosphere

Dr. Chang studies aerosol​ particles in the air – where they come from, and how they change, move and impact current weather and longer-term climate change. Having completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, she’s spent thousands of hours in the field on ships and in coastal regions studying the atmosphere and its interplay with the ocean.

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We need to understand how energy, gases and particles are exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean. It’s not a simple process and it can go in both directions. There are layers on top of the ocean that prevent gases from absorbing, there are waves, there are storms, there is sea spray, they can all have an impact. And the ultimate question is, how do they affect climate?

Mitigation

Ruth Musgrave

Ruth Musgrave, Canada Research Chair in Physical Oceanography, Dalhousie University

Investigating the potential of the ocean to fight climate change

Dr. Musgrave studies how the ocean moves and mixes, and what that means for its chemical composition and the lifeforms that call its depths home. In particular, she is interested in exploring how carbon dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere by enhancing ocean alkalinity. This idea is a potential solution to our climate change problem, but its safety and efficacy needs to be verified.

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As the Earth’s largest natural carbon reservoir, there is a strong argument for looking to the ocean for carbon dioxide removal. There is cautious optimism that a process such as ocean alkalinity enhancement may prove useful in combatting climate change, but we need to fully understand the implications and impacts before we move forward.

Adaptation

Kiran Banerjee

Kiran Banerjee, Canada Research Chair in Forced Migration and Refugee Policy, Dalhousie University

Building a future for the world’s displaced

At this moment, more than 84 million people are displaced from their homes worldwide. A startling figure made more arresting by the fact that climate change promises to make the issue dramatically worse. Political scientist Dr. Banerjee focuses on tackling forced migration by developing policy responses that aim to give people peace, safety, and security.

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Record levels of forced global displacement are pushing the issue onto the international agenda. And yet, we’ve made no progress dealing with the climate-induced migration that promises to displace people at a scale of magnitude that far exceeds anything we have seen before. Future challenges require a better understanding of what climate changes are coming so the global community can respond.