Environment & Climate Change
Helping safeguard and protect our world
Alongside energy, Climate change and the environment are two of the most pressing challenges facing our world. Our environment research includes the earth and air, water, animal and human life, environmental economics, and policy. While our climate change story centres largely on three interrelated areas--energy, the environment, and agriculture and food. However our work in environment and climate change is highly interrelated. While research in these two areas resides in most of our faculties, science, public health, engineering, and agriculture, life sciences and environmental sciences, contain a larger mass.
Studying the past can help us understand and predict the future. Ice contains an invaluable record of environmental change over millennia that could help us understand modern-day climate change. Arctic ice caps are now the largest regional contributor to rising sea levels after melting Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets. Most of what is known about Canadian Arctic glacier change is the result of UAlberta faculty, and alumni now working elsewhere. In fact all are significant contributors to international climate change scientific assessments (e.g. IPCC AR5, Arctic Council's Snow, and Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic report).
We are specialists in remote sensing, which enables us to assess global ice, biosphere and environmental and agricultural changes, and food and forestry productivity. In fact, an environmental monitoring site led by UAlberta professor was ranked 4th in the world for work on climate change. The site is viewed by researchers and policy makers as a best practice for environmental monitoring. The site monitors tropical dry forests’ response to climate change with carbon flux towers, wireless spectral networks, satellite technology, and drone research.
Our research in this area ranges from studying environment itself (earth, land, air, forests, water), environmental phenomena, environmental health, wildlife and biodiversity, and the interaction between humans and the environment, (e.g., conservation, land use, resource extraction, farming, etc). In addition to the many advanced facilities that support our work in this area we are home to the Land Reclamation International Graduate School. Land reclamation research is focused on converting disturbed land to back to its original state or an alternative state for a alternative use. Land can be disturbed through human activity or nature (E.g., hurricane or forest fire). This is the first graduate school of its kind in the world.