A "crisis is looming" in Canadian climate science, thanks to the elimination of a key federal program that supports atmospheric research in Canadian universities, an international coalition of researchers said in an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
More than 250 scientists from 22 countries signed the letter, which was released on Monday by the Canadian research advocacy group Evidence for Democracy. The letter calls on the Prime Minister to restore or replace the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research program, or CCAR, which was not renewed in the 2017 federal budget and which is set to expire with the current fiscal year. Of the seven projects funded by the program, most are now ramping down and laying off research staff.
"The only dedicated program funding climate and atmospheric research in Canada is disappearing," the letter states, a loss that "will be felt far beyond Canada's borders."
Research funded by the federal program included collaborations across universities to gather and analyze data and model atmospheric phenomena in Canada, including the effects of changing sea ice and snow cover, the movement of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the ocean, and the impact of airborne particulates known as aerosols on cloud formation. Much of the work had an Arctic focus, with results that are relevant for understanding climate change globally.