83rd Annual

Monday, 10 February 2003
Ouranos: a Global Approach to Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Assessment
Réal Decoste, Ouranos, Montreal, QC, Canada; and G. Beauchemin, A. Bourque, B. Bobée, R. Laprise, R. Laurence, C. A. Lin, R. Roy, and T. Ouarda
"Climate change" is getting increasingly more attention from the general public at large, and both government and private stakeholders in particular. Eastern Canada and the northeastern part of the US are particularly sensitive to climate change and evidence of deleterious effects on the environment and the economy can already be observed and documented.

Good agreement between modeling, climate data and current behaviour on a global scale has brought confidence that anthropogenic forcings already have and will increasingly have a major impacts on human activities. Climate change is basically an energy problem, born from reliance on fossil fuels for economic growth and social development. Current assessment indicates that "business" as usual will lead to "4 times CO2" before the end of the century. Climate change mitigation requires a global integrated approach. Major advances will be required to bring emissions down to a stabilized level equal to 2 times de green-house-gas concentration that was present before the industrial phase.

Simultaneously, major efforts will be required to adapt to at least "2 times CO2". Climate change impacts vary widely from one region to the other and adaptation strategies should be assessed at the regional level. OURANOS, son of Gaia, goddess of the Earth, is a god from the Greek mythology embodying the atmosphere. Ouranos is also the name of a regional consortium of major stakeholders in Eastern Canada, who agreed to put together financial, technical and scientific resources to quantify impacts and propose adaptation scenarios suited to their respective needs.ƒn Ouranos' mandate is to identify risks and vulnerabilities, quantify impacts and propose adaptation scenarios to mitigate regional effects or take advantage of opportunities here and abroad. Ouranos is stakeholder driven and its scientific programme is established in direct response to user priorities.

Ouranos was officially announced in May 2002 and will regroup over 250 persons in multidisciplinary research teams hailing from universities, governmental and para-governmental organizations in the areas of climate sciences, regional climate modeling, statistical analysis, system characterization, socio-economic analysis and impact and adaptation. The merging of isolated teams of scientists under Ouranos will pull in relevant scientific data and information needed by decision makers to plan responses to the rapidly evolving climate situation.

This presentation will first describe the regional and international context that led to the necessity to launch Ouranos. The programme will also be described with emphasis on priorities already identified and results already obtained.

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