Scientists Involvement in Decision-Making Processes

You will find on this page all the files of the talks that were part of the session named Scientists Involvement in Decision-Making Processes that took place during the 2008 CMOS congress at Kelowna. You can download them in their original format (PPT), in PDF format or in OpenOffice format (ODP).

During this session, we also recorded the speakers. You can watch the video of each talk online on the Vimeo website or you can download the video on your computer.

Please note that all the files, talks and videos, are available only in english and are distributed under the terms of Creative Commons BY license.

Implication des scientifiques dans les processus de décision

Vous trouverez sur cette page les fichiers des présentations qui eurent lieu lors de la session intitulée Implication des scientifiques dans les processus de décision dans le cadre du congrès de la SCMO en 2008 à Kelowna. Vous pouvez les télécharger dans le format original (PPT), en format PDF ou encore en format OpenOffice (ODP).

Lors de cette session, nous avons également filmé les présentateurs. Vous pouvez visualisez les films de chacune des présentations en ligne sur le site Vimeo ou encore en téléchargeant le vidéo sur votre ordinateur.

Veuillez noter que tous les fichiers, présentations et vidéos ne sont disponibles que dans la langue anglaise et sont distribués sous la licence Creative Commons BY.

About the Ogg Theora format

The video files are in the Ogg Theora format. We recommand to use the free software VLC to visualize them.

À propos du format Ogg Theora

Les fichiers vidéo sont dans le format Ogg Theora. Nous vous recommandons d'utliser le logiciel libre VLC pour le visualiser.

  1. Jacques Descurieux, Knowledge management: a tool for improved knowledge communication and decision-making
  2. Michel Bergeron, Integrity and Conflict of Interests: An Ethical Perspective on the Researcher's Responsibility
  3. Arelia Werner, Community-level assessments of climate change and variability
  4. Jean-Pierre Savard, S'adapter aux changements climatiques globaux selon une approche régionale
  5. Ronald Stewart, A Modest Attempt to Take the "I" out of the "Hydro-Illogical" Cycle
  6. Gabor Fricska, The need for more detailed precipitation forecasts in order to support decision making
  7. Louis Lefaivre, The new DAI (Data Access and Integration): changes and improvements to the website
  8. Lisa Vitols, Qualitative quality: Social science benefits service development efforts at Environment Canada
  9. Philip Mote, Science informing decisions: the Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Group
  10. Michel Béland, Socioeconomic and Environmental Benefits of a Revolution in Weather, Climate and Earth-System Prediction - A Weather, Climate and Earth-System Prediction Project for the 21st Century
  11. Charles Lin, IPCC: Past, Present and Future
  12. Stewart Cohen, From Trout Creek to the IPCC: Linking Climate Change Scenarios, Adaptation, and Sustainable Development
  13. Discussion
Speaker Presentation Download

Jacques Descurieux

Environnement Canada / Meteorological Service of Canada

Jacques Descurieux

Jacques' career spans academe and business. He studied at La Sorbonne in Paris and holds French as well as Canadian graduate degrees. After working in Italy, he came to Canada to teach anthropology at the University of Calgary. Subsequently, he acquired extensive training and experience in marketing. Before retiring to Kelowna, he worked in the private sector as vice-president marketing management for a performance and incentive management corporation.

Since joining Environment Canada 3 years ago, Jacques has researched the importance the partnering knowledge management and marketing process paradigms for the decision-making processes in meteorology and in the user communities.

Knowledge management: a tool for improved knowledge communication and decision-making

Knowledge management is now an accepted concept that is often confused with information management. Therein lies the likely root cause for the knowledge communication problems between experts and decision makers. This paper differentiates the two concepts. It describes the interaction between tacit and explicit knowledge. It explains how the capabilities to acquire, transfer, and exchange knowledge leads to knowledge conversion. Finally, it shows how, when combined with the ability to transcend ones own limited perspective or corporate boundaries, knowledge management leads to the co-production of new knowledge and to improved decision-making.

Michel Bergeron

University Research Ethics Board & Office of Research Services and Development, Université de Montréal

Michel Bergeron

Michel Bergeron holds a B.A. in chemistry; a master's in Theology with a concentration in ethics and is pursuing a Ph.D. in applied human sciences with a specialty in bioethics. After having worked as a chemist in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry and in alimentary synthesis and environmental evaluation in the federal government, he served as director of Research Services at Ottawa's St-Paul University.

Since 2003, he is the ethicist of Université de Montréal's University Research Ethics Committee. He acts as the main resource person for matters of ethics in research involving human participants and develops online courses in that domain. He also supervises two working groups of the VINCI initiative (Valorization of INnovation and Intellectual Capital) researching on issues of databanks and research by-products and the ethics of valorization of scientific knowledge. He sat and still sits as president or ethicist on several university or hospital Research Ethics Board. He is a member of the Tri-Council's Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics. Michel also is a member of the Research ethics subcommittee of the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ).

Integrity and Conflict of Interests: An Ethical Perspective on the Researcher's Responsibility

Arelia Werner

Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, University of Victoria

Arelia Werner

Arelia Werner completed her M.Sc. at the Water and Climate Impacts Research Centre (W-CIRC) at the University of Victoria in December 2007 under the supervision of Dr. Terry Prowse and Dr. John Gibson. For her graduate thesis, she investigated the seasonality of the water balance of the Sooke Reservoir, the water supply for the Greater Victoria Area. In her capacity as a hydrologist at the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC), she has worked with the PCIC team to create an overview of hydro-climatology and future climate impacts in British Columbia.

This report was the foundation for further assessments of the impacts of climate change on multiple communities in BC and the Yukon, many of which are led by Arelia. Additionally, she is assisting with setting-up and running the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model on the Fraser River to investigate changes to streamflow resulting from the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation.

Community-level assessments of climate change and variability

After completing an overview of hydro-climatology in British Columbia, several communities requested that the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) complete assessments of climate change at their local level. These assessments contain attractive graphics and maps, which convey pertinent information to community members and decision makers. Although materials were targeted to the small-scale, the ability of the community to assimilate this information was uncertain.

Communities that PCIC staff have worked with to date include: Whitehorse; Atlin; Dawson City; the Cariboo-Chilcotin and the South Coast. Information was tailored to suit the needs of communities after discussion with local technical staff and representatives, such as staff of the Northern Climate Exchange, the City of Whitehorse or the Integrated Land Management Bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. The number of people involved in crafting these assessments was highly variable, and interaction took place remotely via phone conversations or through hands-on involvement in processes, such as Charrettes. Thereby, the needs of communities were explored through engagement with local representatives coming from different backgrounds and responsibility levels, who participate in decision-making.

The results show a strong desire by community-level decision-makers to understand the consequences of global climate change and regional impacts that can be applied to their community. However, there is frequently confusion between the consequences of climate change as compared to climate variability. Although technical information is needed, the methodology is often not appreciated. Furthermore, there is a need for a broad explanation of climate mechanics in Pacific North America. These limitations demand additional time for personal interaction, repetition of concepts, and concrete examples or demonstrations of the issues. Ultimately, the driving theme of these interactions was the need for community members to address the question, “What does this mean for us?” in terms of water supply, energy requirements and infrastructure.

Jean-Pierre Savard


Jean-Pierre Savard

Adapting to global climate change using a regional approach: the ouranos consortium

Ronald Stewart

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University

Ronald Stewart

As of July 1, 2008, Professor Stewart is Head of the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of Manitoba. Before this he was a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at McGill University. Dr. Stewart completed his graduate studies in physics at the University of Toronto; he conducted postdoctoral research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and he was an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming before moving to Environment Canada in Toronto where he became a senior scientist.

Professor Stewart's research focuses on extreme winter and summer weather, precipitation and regional climate. He has led numerous Canadian and international research activities addressing these issues. He conceived and is currently co-leading the Drought Research Initiative (DRI), a research network addressing Prairie drought, as well as Storm Studies in the Arctic (STAR), a network that carried out a field study of Arctic clouds and storms in the autumn of 2007 out of Iqaluit. Dr. Stewart has also been President of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS); he led Canada's involvement in the International Union of Geophysics and Geodesy (IUGG) for several years; and he is a member of the Canadian Committee for the International Council for Science (ICSU). He has also led global initiatives on regional climate within the World Climate Research Programme and is currently leading a new effort examining hydrometeorological extremes, including droughts and flooding, around the world.

A Modest Attempt to Take the "I" out of the "Hydro-Illogical" Cycle

A great deal has been written regarding the inefficiencies of current approaches to preparing for and responding to droughts. Normally politicians, scientists, public servants, institutions, and private sector decision makers expend an intense amount of activity during a drought or extreme event only to stop almost all activities when the drought ends. Consequently knowledge is lost, opportunities for advanced preparation are squandered, and resources are needlessly wasted. This process has been facetiously described as the hydro-illogical cycle. Scientists involved in the CFCAS funded Drought Research Initiative are exploring ways to link their research results to the decision-making processes of their operational partners. Ideally this will help identify ways to facilitate enhanced drought preparation and response both physically and socio-economically. This presentation will describe how this effort builds on work done in Canada, the United States, and Australia and extend it. The presentation will also discuss how these activities could become part of the operational risk management and warning system of Agriculture Canada's climate unit and its Federal and Provincial partners. Furthermore, the presentation will consider how this approach could potentially support efforts to proactively address and enhance drought responses under current and projected future conditions, both domestically and with U.S. and Mexican partners.

Gabor Fricska

Environment Canada / Meteorological Service of Canada

Gabor Fricska

Gabor Fricska has been working as a meteorologist with MSC since 1989. After working for 15 years as a operational meteorologist he moved over to the service side of the organization and is now working at the NSO here in Kelowna.

The need for more detailed precipitation forecasts in order to support decision making

During the past two years members of the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) national service office have met with a variety of users to learn more about how they make critical weather related decisions. The users include officials from emergency management teams, public utilities, municipalities and aviation groups. The stories and discussions during these visits highlighted the universal need for more detailed precipitation forecasts. Current meteorological forecasts of precipitation were deemed too general by many of these decision makers. Participants have asked for more detail in the timing of the onset and duration of precipitation along with more detailed information on precipitation rate and precipitation amount. Of these factors, precipitation rate was identified as being particularly important because of its link with local flooding, municipal engineering design standards and public safety.

Louis Lefaivre

Environnement Canada/Ouranos

Louis Lefaivre

Louis Lefaivre started his career as an operational forecaster in 1975 at the Meteorological Service of Canada. After his MSc studies at McGill University, he joins in 1980 the Climate modeling group. From 1982 to 1991, he is back in operations: in Germany first, then at the Quebec Region and finally ends up in 1987 at the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC). He gets a development meteorologist job in 1991 and participates to the operational set-up of the first Canadian Ensemble Prediction System. From 1996 to 2007, he holds several management positions within the CMC Development group. Since June 2007, he is the Environment Canada coordinator at Ouranos.

The new DAI (Data Access and Integration): changes and improvements to the website

Lisa Vitols

Environment Canada / Meteorological Service of Canada

Jacques Descurieux

Lisa Vitols had no idea when she took a single climatology course during her undergraduate degree years ago that she would end up as a social scientist working with meteorologists at Environment Canada. Her Masters in environmental education and communication is now helping her not only teach the basics of weather and environmental stewardship to her Brownie group, but also to connecting her public servant colleagues with decision-makers for the purpose of better informing the development of weather-related products and services.

Qualitative quality: Social science benefits service development efforts at Environment Canada

As Environment Canada endeavours to improve weather information tools to reflect the evolving needs of Canadians, one innovative team chose a social science, qualitative approach to service development. Members of the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) national service office focused on a subset of the public who make critical decisions that affect the lives of many other Canadians – municipal officials. Rather than counting web hits or using numerical, computer-generated surveys to evaluate the usage of different tools, the team made informal, interactive presentations about existing weather information to small groups of municipal staff from the parks, engineering, roads and public works departments of local communities. The discussions, stories and connections that emanated from this initial interpersonal outreach led to consistent discoveries about how municipalities use weather information to improve safety for Canadians, and how MSC might improve products and services to support them. This validation of the social science approach to service development will inform future efforts targeting other Canadian decision makers.

Philip Mote

Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington

Philip Mote

Philip Mote is a Research Scientist with the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, State Climatologist for the State of Washington, and an Affiliate Professor in the Atmospheric Sciences Department. His research interests include observed variability and change in Northwest climate and mountain snowpack, influences of climate on water resources and wildfire, and dynamics of the tropical tropopause and lower stratosphere.

A frequent public speaker, he has also written over 70 scientific articles and edited a book on climate modeling, published in 2000. He served as a lead author of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released in 2007. He has a Ph.D. (Atmospheric Sciences) from UW and a B.A. (Physics) from Harvard.

Science informing decisions: the Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Group

Since its founding in 1995, the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) at the University of Washington has achieved remarkable success at translating global- and regional-scale science into forms and products that are useful to, and used by, decision-makers. From GCM scenarios to research on the connection between global ocean variability and regional droughts or floods, to original research on connections between PNW climate and hydrology, CIG's strong physical science foundation is matched by a vigorous and successful outreach program. As a result, CIG is deeply involved in advising all levels of government on adapting to climate variability and change. This talk will showcase some of the decision support tools CIG has developed and the ways these tools are being applied.

Michel Béland

Environment Canada / Meteorological Service of Canada

Michel Béland

Socioeconomic and Environmental Benefits of a Revolution in Weather, Climate and Earth-System Prediction - A Weather, Climate and Earth-System Prediction Project for the 21st Century

This document was prepared by scientists from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)-World Weather Research Programme (WWRP), World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), and the natural-hazards and socioeconomic communities. It is intended to inform policy makers, national academies of science and users of weather, climate and environmental information of the urgent necessity for establishing a /Weather, Climate and Earth-System Prediction Project/ to increase the capacity of disaster-risk reduction managers and environmental policy makers to make sound decisions to minimize and adapt to the societal, economic and environmental vulnerabilities arising from high-impact weather and climate.

This endeavor is comparable in scale to the Apollo Moon Project, International Space Station, Genome Project and Hubble Telescope, with a socioeconomic and environmental benefits-to-cost ratio that is much higher. It will provide the capacity to realize the full benefits from the observational, modeling, prediction and early-warning system components of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and to accelerate major advances in weather, climate and Earth-system prediction and the use of this information by global societies. Delivering the benefits from this ambitious endeavor will require building upon the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) as an international organizational framework to coordinate the proposed/ Project/ across the weather, climate, Earth-system, natural-hazards and socioeconomic disciplines. Moreover, it will require investments in: i) maintaining existing and developing new observational capabilities; ii) advanced high-performance computing facilities with eventual sustained speeds of more than 10,000 times that of the most advanced computers of today, linked to a network of research and operational-forecast centers and early-warning systems world wide; iii) education, science and technology transfer projects to enhance the awareness and utilization of weather, climate, environmental and socioeconomic information; iv) infrastructure to transition/ Project/ research achievements into operational products and services.

Charles Lin

Environment Canada / Meteorological Service of Canada

Charles Lin

Charles Lin is currently the Director General, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Environment Canada. He has been on leave from McGill University since January 2007 to take on this position. At McGill, he is a Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. He served as the Department Chair from 1998-2003, and was the Director of the multi-university Global Environmental and Climate Change Centre (GEC3EG) from 2004-06. Dr. Lin's research interests are the numerical modeling of floods and droughts, and the analysis of precipitation from weather and climate models, and radars and satellites. He has published over 60 articles in refereed scientific journals. He was awarded the President's Prize of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society in 2002, and appointed a Fellow of the Society in 2004.

IPCC: Past, Present and Future

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in 1988 with the purpose of providing objective information on the causes of climate change, its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences and the adaptation and mitigation options to respond to it. Over the past 20 years, the IPCC has provided this objective information through four major assessment reports and a series of technical and special reports that has been instrumental in shaping the international policy response to the challenge of global climate change. With the completion of the Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, which very clearly concluded that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases, the IPCC needs to scope out future activities to remain policy relevant while remaining firmly rooted in its core function: science assessment. This talk will illustrate how the IPCC has been at the forefront of science-policy interface over the past 20 years and suggest ways in which the IPCC can keep itself policy-relevant over the next 20 years.

Stewart Cohen

Adaptation & Impacts Research Division, Environment Canada

Stewart Cohen

Dr. Stewart Cohen is senior researcher with the Adaptation and Impacts Research Division of Environment Canada, and an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Forest Resources Management of the University of British Columbia (UBC). Dr. Cohen's research interests are in climate change impacts and adaptation at the regional scale, and exploring how climate change can affect sustainable development. Recent work includes a case study on climate change and water management in the Okanagan region of British Columbia, and a study on climate change visualization led by Stephen Sheppard of UBC. He is currently a member of the advisory committee for the Columbia Basin Trust climate change adaptation program. Previously, he led the Mackenzie Basin Impact Study (MBIS), a 7-year effort focused on climate change impacts in the western Canadian Arctic, completed in 1997. His earlier work included research on impacts in the Great Lakes and Saskatchewan River Basins He has been a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third and Fourth Assessment Reports. Dr. Cohen is a geographer having received his B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. from McGill University, University of Alberta, and University of Illinois, respectively.

From Trout Creek to the IPCC: Linking Climate Change Scenarios, Adaptation, and Sustainable Development

Successful application of climate change science in decision making is about more than reducing uncertainty in climate models or in detecting precipitation trends. An important element is the translation of climate scenario information into “the damage report” accounting for both changes in the biophysical environment and changes in land use, water use, development and governance that can alter relationships between climate and society. This requires an interdisciplinary approach in which teams with various research and professional skills apply a range of analytical tools to a set of common scenarios. This is supported by dialogue with local practitioners who can offer insights into the management and planning of climate-sensitive systems. This experience can lay the foundation for assessment of effectiveness of response options for individual cases, as well as for communication of these concerns to communities and governments. Examples are offered from a case study of Okanagan water management, and participation in the IPCC Third and Fourth Assessments.


Discussion about the Scientists Involvement in Decision-Making Processes

In order that we can discuss all the questions raised during the session about the scientists involvement in decision-making processes, a discussion period will be held after all the talks.

All speakers are invited for a 45 minutes discussion, which will allow us to elaborate on points raised and respond to any questions which we did not have time to address previously. We would like to encourage you to think about these questions and, during the discussion, comment and share your ideas. All contributions are welcomed and will be compiled and will be available on this web page.