David Barber

Canada Research Chair in Arctic-System Science

Tier 1 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2016-02-01
University of Manitoba
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council


Research involves

Doing field and theoretical research to expand scientific knowledge of the effects of global warming on sea ice in the Arctic, and to develop more effective tools to predict, and deal with, its potentially harmful effects.

Research relevance

Helping protect Canada's Arctic environment for future generations.

Protecting Our Polar Populations

Every day, new newspaper headlines around the world warn us about the potential impacts of global warming on our environment. The polar regions are widely predicted to be the first, and most severely, affected. More scientific research is needed, however, to improve our knowledge and understanding of the challenges of global warming.

For example, how are climate, oceanic and atmospheric changes related to different levels of sea ice throughout the Arctic (a relationship that scientists refer to as ocean-sea ice-atmosphere processes). How would changes in this relationship affect marine ecosystems? The answers to questions like these will only come by developing better tools to predict and curb the harmful effects of variability and change in the Arctic climate.

As Canada Research Chair in Arctic-System Science at the University of Manitoba, Dr. David Barber is leading research in this area. Through his work, Barber wants to expand scientific knowledge about both the physical and biological processes at work in the ocean-sea ice-atmosphere system. He also hopes to develop innovative modelling tools to predict changes in the system, both in space and over time, and to share his discoveries with key stakeholders, such as the Aboriginal peoples of the Arctic and private sector industry.

An expert in how movement and energy, including heat, affects sea-ice processes, Barber uses field observations, advanced geography-related technologies (such as remote sensing, computer modelling and geographic information systems), and mathematical models to uncover connections between the atmosphere, waters and biosphere in Arctic marine systems. His groundbreaking work sheds light on how changes in these systems affect the quality and sustainability of the environment and, in turn, of our quality of life.

Through his research, Barber is increasing current field research, enhancing collaborations with other leading Canadian and international scientists, and engaging Aboriginal organizations in collecting, analyzing, and integrating data from locations across the Canadian Arctic. His team's findings will prove invaluable in managing the Arctic and, consequently, our planet.