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Protecting Canadians from ocean hazards

The challenge:

Port authorities, municipalities and the oil and gas sector are among those needing accurate and rapid assessments of marine conditions both for their routine operations and during emergencies. They also require improved tools to anticipate and plan for the effects of climate change over the coming decades. Canada is particularly vulnerable to extremes and emergencies in the marine environment because of our long coastline, and growing economic dependence on oceans.

How an NCE is responding:

Launched in 2012, the Halifax-headquartered Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) is working with several government agencies, the private sector, communities and international partners to develop and test new technologies and strategies that will help Canada better anticipate and respond to marine hazards. Having end users involved on MEOPAR’s board of directors and advisory committees helps to ensure that the network’s research is relevant and that results will be put into practice.

“Our Board of Directors puts us in contact with the stakeholders and potential users of the research –including government agencies, companies, NGOs and municipalities – so we can identify the research needs and main challenges, and collaborate to address them. For example, this could include working closely with DFO (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) to get a better handle on what climate change will mean for living resources in our oceans over the next 10 to 20 years, or working with municipalities on the anticipated effects of rising sea levels  and changing storm surge frequency for planning.”
Dr. Doug Wallace, Scientific Director, MEOPAR

“Using science to inform public policy is an important part of MEOPAR’s mission. Having the ability to better understand when and how marine emergencies may strike will influence the economic, safety, planning, regulatory and policy decisions we make today. Such knowledge will also help to anticipate future risks to marine ecosystems and will underpin strategic planning of resource management.”
Dr. Robert Walker, MEOPAR Board Chair and President & CEO, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

“Environment Canada is very interested in working closely with MEOPAR, for example, in its efforts to create a re-locatable atmosphere-wave-ocean forecast system that can be set-up within hours of a marine emergency anywhere along Canada’s coastline. MEOPAR gives us opportunities to co-develop prediction and observation systems with our academic partners and will provide us with new possibilities for our future operations.”
Dr. Charles Lin, MEOPAR Board Member and Director General, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Environment Canada