11th June Keynote: David Barber
Leading one of the world's largest IPY projects, Dr. David Barber has had a team of 200 international researchers examining how global warming in the Arctic predicts the effects of climate change on our planet. In his keynote speech "On thin Ice: The Arctic and Climate Change", he will summarise what we know.
"We are almost out of
multiyear sea ice in the northern hemisphere. I've never seen anything
like this in my 30 years of working in the high Arctic ... it was very
dramatic. The Arctic is an early indicator of what we can expect at the
global scale as we move through the next few decades ... So we should be
paying carefull attention to this."
The team has focused on Circumpolar Flaw Leads (CFL), created when the Arctic ice pack moves away from coastal ice, leaving areas of open water. The CFL project builds upon a legacy of outstanding northern research at the University of Manitoba.
As Professor of Environment and Geography and Canada's Research Chair in Arctic System Science, David Barber explores the frontiers of global climate change. He is director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS) at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.
Born in 1960, Dr. Barber obtained his Ph.D. (1992) from the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He was appointed to a faculty position at the University of Manitoba in 1993 and received a Canada Research Chair in Arctic System Science (www.chairs.gc.ca) in 2002. He is currently Associate Dean (Research), CHR Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources. He is recognized internationally through scientific leadership in large network programs (e.g., NOW, CASES, ArcticNet, the Canadian Research Icebreaker (Amundsen), and CFL), as a member of severaland international committees. He supervises 9 MSc students; 9 PhD students, 4 post doctoral fellows and 9 full time research staff.
David Barber has extensive experience in the examination of the Arctic marine environment as a ‘system', and the effect climate change has on this system. He has published over 120 articles in the peer reviewed literature pertaining to sea ice, climate change and physical-biological coupling in the Arctic marine system.
For many years, David Barber considered himself a climate change skeptic. As a sea ice specialist, who has worked in the Arctic since 1981, he knew from the outset that significant changes in sea ice patterns were occurring. But he put it down to the influence of natural variability.
By the mid-1990s, though, mounting evidence of how greenhouse gas emissions are transforming the Earth's climate - with the starkest effects in the Arctic - turned him into a convert. Today Barber speaks out about the dangers of global warming. His scientific research supports the need to act on climate change.
In November last year Barber spoke shortly after returning from an expedition that sought - and largely failed to find - a huge multiyear ice pack that should have been in the Beaufort Sea off the Canadian coastal town of Tuktoyaktuk. Instead, his ice breaker found hundreds of miles of what he called "rotten ice" - 50-cm (20-inch) thin layers of fresh ice covering small chunks of older ice.
"From a practical perspective, if you want to ship across the pole, you're concerned about multiyear sea ice. You're not concerned about this rotten stuff we were doing 13 knots through. It's easy to navigate through. I would argue that we almost have a seasonally ice-free Arctic now, because multiyear sea ice is the barrier to the use and development of the Arctic," said Barber.
Last updated: 14.04.2010