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School of Geography & Earth Sciences News

3MT Awards

Experts quiet climate-change skeptics: Warming leads to longer cold snaps

Climate-change skeptics -- and everyone else in Canada -- had better bundle up. Research shows extended cold snaps like we’ve seen this winter could be a direct result of climate change. “When people see one month of extreme cold, they say ‘What happened to global warming?’” said Arain, a professor in McMaster University’s School of Geography and Earth Sciences. “But if you look globally, it’s -23 C in our region, but in Australia, in Europe the temperatures are much warmer than usual.” More...More

3MT AwardsMacSMS puts local weather in the palm of your hand

Want to know the exact temperature in Faculty Hollow before you even set foot on campus? Just send a text.

A trio of McMaster engineering students have created a brand new messaging service, MacSMS, that offers real-time weather updates generated by the McMaster Weather Station. More...More

 

3MT Awards

Michelle Reid crowned McMaster 3MT champion

Graduate student Michelle Reid will be representing McMaster at the upcoming Ontario Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in April.

Reid, an Environmental & Earth Science student, took the top prize for her presentation on wetlands reclamation in the Alberta oil sands, besting a diverse field of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from all faculties. More...More

 

For Rent

Why Canada’s cult of home ownership is in trouble.

Despite all the financial obstacles they face, young adults have been eager believers in home ownership. Now, they’re thinking more critically about houses.

That’s the sense you get from the twentysomethings in Richard Harris’s fourth-year urban housing class in the geography program at McMaster University in Hamilton. For the second year in a row, Prof. Harris has given his students a fall assignment to construct an argument for either buying a home or renting.“Last year, in a class of 29 students, a clear majority said they would buy,” Prof. Harris wrote me in an e-mail.More...More

Ice Storm

$3.7M to fund research partnerships and leading-edge facilities

McMaster is starting off 2014 with good news from both the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Nineteen researchers from five faculties are leading projects and research programs awarded funding boosts from the CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund and NSERC’s Strategic Project Grants (SPG). One of the NSERC-funded grants – led by Altaf Arain, director of the McMaster Centre for Climate Change – is particularly timely, given the latest wallop of weather and the resulting severe damage to tree canopies across the country. More...More

Kellly Biagi

Mac student returns from Antarctic expedition

Hamilton's chilly temperatures are nothing to Kelly Biagi, who has just returned from a 10-day expedition through Antarctica.

The 23-year-old McMaster student was one of a handful of master's students aboard the Students on Ice ship. When she spoke to The Spectator from the vessel on Sunday, Jan. 5, they were travelling through the Drake Passage.

"It's pretty cold," she laughed at the time. "We spent a lot of the days outside, and I had at least three pairs of pants on and six layers on top plus a down coat and a raincoat." Still, she said the experience has been life-changing. . More...More

CaveSumatra coastal cave records stunning tsunami history

A cave on the northwestern coast of Sumatra holds a remarkable record of big tsunamis in the Indian Ocean.The limestone opening, close to Banda Aceh, retains the sandy deposits washed ashore by huge, earthquake-induced waves over thousands of years. Scientists are using the site to help determine the frequency of catastrophes like the event of 26 December 2004.

This is being done by dating the cave's tsunami-borne sediments, which are easy to see between layers of bat droppings. "The tsunami sands just jump right out at you because they're separated by guano layers. There's no confusing the stratigraphy (layering)," explains Dr Jessica Pilarczyk. More...More

 

Moon pictureChina takes aim at moon in landmark lunar mission

For the first time in nearly 40 years, a man-made rover is en route to the moon.
On Monday, China launched the ambitious Chang'e-3 exploration mission — a first for the country's space program, and a key piece of the overall Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. The lander spacecraft and its on-board rover, known as "Jade Rabbit," will touch down on the moon Dec. 16. 
Li He, a PhD candidate and lunar researcher in the School of Geography & Earth Sciences, sheds some light on the Chang'e-3 Moon mission, and what it means for the future of the space race: More...More

Image placeholderMcMaster receives more than $24M in major
partnerships with the federal government, Chrysler and industry

The University has entered into major partnerships with Chrysler, the federal government and other auto industry leaders, to develop energy-efficient, high-performance electrified and lighter weight vehicles.

The $24-million partnership includes federal funding for several McMaster projects through Automotive Partnership Canada (APC). More...More

 

Geographer honoured by 'the people who know my work best'

Image placeholderRichard Harris, a professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences, has been awarded the Canadian Association of Geographers' Award for Scholarly Distinction in Geography.

“This is meaningful because I am being recognized by my peers,” said Harris. “These are the people who know my work best, so it really is an honour.”

To know Harris’ work is to be familiar with nearly three decades of work. He has published six books, nearly 100 peer reviewed articles and more than 150 book reviews.

Harris has also received Fulbright, Guggenheim and Canada Research fellowships and was recently elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. More...More

Image placeholderHelp put climate change on the map

What are you doing to help mitigate climate change? Have you noticed the impacts of our changing climate?

The McMaster Centre for Climate Change has created a website where you can share the actions you are taking and the impacts you notice.  Submissions will appear on interactive maps and you may find out about interesting projects that you never knew existed. 

Connect with your community and help put climate change on the map — www.mapclimatechange.ca.

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Billion-year-old water could hold clues to life on Earth, Mars

A team of Canadian and UK researchers has discovered what may be some of the oldest pockets of water on the planet – and they may contain life.

The team, which included McMaster’s Greg Slater, analyzed water pouring out of boreholes in a mine nearly 2.5 km below the ground in Timmins, located in northern Ontario.

Their findings, published May 15 in the journal Nature, could force us to rethink which parts of Earth are fit for life.

The researchers used isotopes of helium, neon, argon and xenon to demonstrate that the water was isolated deep beneath the Earth for an average of 1.5 billion years and possibly up to 2.6 billion years, making it some of the oldest water ever observed. More...More

Image placeholderNew research chairs to put gender differences under the microscope

Two McMaster researchers are probing the links between gender, work and health.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has awarded Chairs to Allison Williams and Joy MacDermid, who will explore gender issues from very different perspectives.

Williams, an associate professor in geography and earth sciences and Chair in Gender, Work and Health – Implementation Systems, will investigate how workplaces can better accommodate employees who act as caregivers at home. More...More

 

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