Assistant professor, PhD Ottawa
I came to the Department of Geography in 2010 after working for 6 years as a research scientist and professor at the International Arctic Research Center/Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (2004-2010). Before that I held Post-Doc positions at Bedford Institute of Oceanography, focusing on environmental forcing of arctic coastal regions (2002-2004), and the University of Ottawa, focusing on high-arctic data issues and computer methods for hemispheric paleo-climate reconstruction (2000-2002). My PhD (University of Ottawa, 2000) focused on high-arctic climate issues that included data rescue work (Polar Continental Shelf Project database), statistical analyses, and the development of a distributed surface air temperature prediction model.
My primary interests centre around the "environmental forcing" of coastal zones and the analysis of weather data for extreme events, specifically storms. This means addressing how storm winds affect coastal zones via "ocean states" - that is, the severe waves or storm surges that they cause. In the north, this also includes giving special attention to the unique complicating conditions introduced by the presence of sea-ice and frozen ground. More broadly, my work encompasses investigating high-latitude storm and storm track dynamics, the response of the ocean surface to winds, statistical characterization of extreme events, and links to societal impacts via interdisciplinary partnerships. I am at home in the field as well as in front of a computer, and engage in field instrumental work and large-scale computer analyses of data, as well as detailed computer modelling of phenomenon such as storm surges using what are termed finite-element models. Currently my fieldwork is being undertaken in the west coastal regions of Alaska.
Over my academic career my regional focus has been the Canadian High Arctic and circumpolar regions; this started with my first field work in the north as a Master's student with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) in 1990. Since 1989 I have had the great fortune to work at Canadian federal government labs including the Marine Environmental Geosciences, Terrain Sciences, and Glaciology divisions of GSC, the Polar Continental Shelf Project bases in Resolute Bay and Eureka, and Environment Canada's headquarters in Downsview. More recently, my interests have expanded to encompass the Pacific regions which, I have found, have many interesting parallels to northern lands.
At UVic I am responsible for the climate-oriented courses, from beginning undergraduate to specialized graduate topics.