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CivMin Distinguished Lecture Series with Dr. Francis Zwiers

September 22, 2021 @ 2:00 pm

Wednesday, September 22 at 2 p.m. ET
Join via Zoom (direct join link for internal CivMin U of T audiences)
Registration (for external participants)

Engineering design for future climates – navigating a complex intersection of disciplines


Dr. Francis Zwiers is director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) at the University of Victoria. His former roles include chief of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis and director of the Climate Research Division, both at Environment and Climate Change Canada. As a research scientist, his expertise is in the application of statistical methods to the analysis of observed and simulated climate variability and change. Dr. Zwiers is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society, a recipient of the Patterson Medal and President’s Prize, has served as an IPCC Coordinating Lead Author of the Fourth Assessment Report and as an elected member of the IPCC Bureau for the Fifth Assessment Report.


PCIC recently participated in a 3-year project to update climatic design values for the National Building Code of Canada and the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code, and to provide guidance on how design values may change as the climate continues to warm. In this talk I will describe i) the project and its results, ii) the approaches to try to separate uncertainty into quantifiable and non-quantifiable components, and iii) my impressions of some unresolved issues for engineering design in the context of a non-stationary climate. The latter include challenges in determining and meeting building reliability criteria throughout the design service life of the structure and in adequately supporting the transition from the uniform hazard approach to engineering design that is currently used in Canada to a uniform risk approach, as is already embodied in ASCE-7. Successfully navigating these challenges will require close interaction between many disciplines, including engineering professionals, climatologists, statisticians, and adaptation specialists who are skilled in “socializing” concepts once expert consensus has been achieved.


September 22, 2021
2:00 pm