Debate Headlines Climate Change Conference
Posted on: September 13, 2017
Great Lakes Water Temperatures
Great Lakes surface water temperatures September 12, 2017. Click here to compare this year to the last two years (NOAA data).

Conference Description

As noted in the September 1st issue of Infosuperior, Lakehead University will be hosting a Climate Change Forum on September 28th and 29th. Events on day 1 take place in “The Study”, the student coffee house at the university, while Day 2 events take place in the Conference Room of the Bartley Residence. The agenda for the forum has been finalized and is available on the forum website, linked below. There is no charge to attend all or part of the forum but participants must register in advance. Meals are included in registration both days.


Conference website and full agenda

Speaker and Panelist Bios

Be it Resolved…

Events get underway at 1 p.m. on day 1, September 28th but the 2:45 p.m. debate definitely headlines activities. Students from various faculties will gather in The Study Coffee House at 2:45 p.m. and duke it out over the following resolution:

Be it resolved thatHumans are rising to the challenge and tackling the climate change crisis

Teams on either side of the topic have been organized in advance and to keep it fair, the debate will be moderated. The Study staff will still be at work serving up great beverages during the debate so grab your coffee early and find a good seat.

By the way, who gets to decide the winner? Is that the audience?

Other Day 1 sessions include:

  • What Is Climate Change Anyway?
  • Picturing Climate Change in Thunder Bay: Urgency, Hope, and Action. A guided tour of EarthCare Thunder Bay and Lakehead University’s Collaborative photovoice exhibit on climate change.
  • Sherilee Harper: “Climate change impacts on Indigenous peoples’ health: Stories from around the world”
  • Boreal Heartbeat: Emotional Impacts of Climate Change in Northwestern Ontario. Kelsey Jones-Casey, Fulbright Scholar

Day 2 Outline

Day 2, September 29th, starts out at 08:30 a.m., concludes at 4:45 and includes the following sessions:

  • Climate Change impacts on the Lake Superior/watersheds
  • Climate Modelling and Data Use
  • The Bio-economy and climate mitigation
  • Ontario’s Aboriginal Communities: On the frontline of the fight against Climate change
  • Community Awareness Perspectives

The website has been updated. Examples of recently posted information follow, describing a couple of the forums:

Water and Lake SuperiorRob Stewart, Moderator

This session runs from 9:00. to 10:30 a.m. on Day 2, September 29th.

Practical solutions to the challenges arising through climate change are beginning to be implemented in Lake Superior communities. The purpose of this session is to present, discuss and debate these solutions, as well as the many challenges which remain.

This panel will focus on Lake Superior environmental restoration and protection in the face of climate change. Forum participants will cite examples of effects and challenges induced through climate change in specific communities around Lake Superior. Participation by Canadian First Nations and U.S. Tribal community representatives will ensure inclusion of indigenous perspective and knowledge.

Climate is a primary driver impacting Lake Superior and its surrounding watershed. Water levels, water temperature, fish populations, other aquatic and terrestrial organisms, even area communities and the Great Lakes economy are all inherently linked to climate.

Changes in climate are already well documented and include increased Lake Superior surface water and air temperature, changes in the onset of seasons, decreased ice cover and increased storm intensity. Changes to cold water fish species, coastal wetlands, forest habitat, shoreline, and phytoplankton/zooplankton populations are just some of the changes which may take place, or which have begun to take place.

Resources: The Lake Superior Action and Management Plan, which is central to Lake Superior restoration and protection, recognizes climate change as a significant factor affecting Lake Superior. The Lake Superior Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Report sets out available science and identifies adaptation strategies and actions for Lake Superior ecosystems.

Climate Models and the Real WorldAdam Cornwell, Moderator

This session runs from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Day 2, September 29th.

Climate models are the best tools that we have for understanding and anticipating changes to the climate system. Due to the interconnected nature of this system, models produce the most robust and reliable results when applied at large or global scales. However, this creates a problem for those who need to plan a response to climatic changes. Practitioners have a requirement for data that is useful on small scales. Local features such as land cover can create climates that are very different from the large-scale averages simulated by global circulation models. As well, the most reliable and significant variables in climate models, such as temperature, do not always describe the changes that are of most concern to practitioners, such as hailstorms or flooding.

The purpose of this panel is to address this gap between climate models and the real world: how modellers and practitioners can work together to identify practical scenarios of likely climatic change.

Spread the Word

Lakehead University’s 2017 Climate Change Forum could be the first of many and has future potential to to explore a vast array of topics and challenges. The forum is open to the university and broader general community. Participants can attend all or part of the forum. If you know people who might be interested…spread the word.





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