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East Coast climate change researchers shaking things up

ocean waves Climate change research underway
“Increasing city resilience to floods under climate change has become one of the major challenges for decision makers, urban planners, and engineering practitioners around the world.” explains UPEI professor Dr. Xander Wang. Photo - Belle DeMont

Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Atlantic Canadian research, looking at the the people and institutions behind the studies.

Atlantic Canada is a hub for innovative and exciting research and we want to share it with you! Each month, we will be highlighting some of the weird and wonderful research happening at the region’s 16 universities. From biology and climate change, to psychology, culture, and the human condition, you never know what you might discover. Join us on a brief exploration each month, and open your eyes to the amazing work being done right here in Atlantic Canada.

Climate change

With climate change and environmental issues at the forefront of the minds of many Canadians, researchers are helping us understand where to go from here. Universities across Atlantic Canada are proving that we’re turning in the right direction, as they continue to produce high-level research about the topics that matter most to Canadians.

Natural disaster research

Researchers from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), Dalhousie University, and the University of New Brunswick (UNB) have been producing innovative work in the field of natural disaster research.

Urban Flood Prediction Under Heavy Precipitation, findings by UPEI professor Dr. Xander Wang, was published in the Journal of Hydrology on Aug. 7.

As Wang explains, “Increasing city resilience to floods under climate change has become one of the major challenges for decision makers, urban planners, and engineering practitioners around the world.”

By being able to accurately predict a city’s vulnerability during flooding, researchers can advise on engineering techniques used to lower risk.

Across the water, a team of seismologists and geophysicists at Dalhousie University have partnered with researchers from the University of Calgary to explore how earthquakes are induced by hydraulic fracturing. Researchers discovered that slips in the faults could be caused by the injection of fracturing fluids, and are now exploring possibilities for new mitigation strategies.

Dr. Dmitry Garagash, a professor in Dalhousie’s Civil and Resource Engineering Department, says this work allows the team to better understand the phenomenon, leading to improved regulations and practices in the future.

Finally, Dr. Shabnam Jabari, assistant professor in UNB’s department of geodesy and geomatic engineering, has been working on natural disaster management, discovering that the extent of a natural disaster is visible from satellite images.

Jabari notes that natural disasters are “one of the most difficult situations modern cities are facing at the moment.”

She put her research to work following the 2018 Fredericton flood, during which Jabari was able to provide detailed information about affected areas using her new techniques.

Throughout Atlantic Canada, these university researchers are working to improve the quality of life for people around the world. It’s easy to become fearful about our environment and feel a loss of control, but reading about the innovative research being done in our backyard is inspiring. It reminds Canadians that it is not too late to make changes.

Honorable mention

In other news, Mount Allison alumnus and co-founder of Kasis Environmental, Travis Osmond, is working to make gold mining more environmentally-friendly. The company is in the process of patenting a non-toxic, bio-derived fibre which could change the future of mining.

To learn more, check it out here

Jill Ellsworth is a writer and a life-long learner who lives in Dominion, N.S. Working as CBU’s digital communications specialist has opened her eyes to the groundbreaking research happening at Atlantic Canada’s universities, and now she’s here to share it with you each month. She can be reached at jillellsworth94@gmail.com.

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