Environment Canada's Dr. Gilbert Brunet works to improve weather forecasts
Dr. Gilbert Brunet, Environment Canada's Director of Meteorological Research, stands in front of Environment Canada's Supercomputer in Dorval, Quebec.
Photo: Guy Dansereau © Environment Canada, 2009.
Did you know that Environment Canada's Supercomputer has contributed to better weather forecasting? In fact, thanks to it and other High Performance Computer (HPC) technology, our current five-day forecast is as accurate as a one-day forecast from 40 years ago!
This is where Dr. Gilbert Brunet comes in. As Environment Canada's Director of Meteorological Research Division, improving weather and environmental prediction is a large part of his work. His scientific expertise is at the intersection of weather and climate prediction.
Seeing into the future (of weather)
The predictions made by Dr. Brunet and his teams can range from being a few hours in advance, to a whole season ahead of time.
Why predict weather and environmental occurrences so far in advance?
These forecasts have the potential to affect a wide range of economic sectors and public policy issues, including: agriculture, water resources and the natural environment; human health; tourism and human welfare; energy, transport, communications and urban settlement and sustainable development and economics and financial services.
"The research we do results in increased accuracy and timeliness." Dr. Brunet says.
Environment Canada's Meteorological Research Division is constantly striving to expand its technology to improve the accuracy of weather, environmental and climate forecast models.
"Each increase in computing power improves our accuracy, with the economic benefits of this knowledge being felt by cities clearing snow, teams responding to severe weather emergencies, or peach growers packing fruit."
Severe weather forecasting
Dr. Brunet oversees research in a number of specialized areas.
"The Cloud Physics and Severe Weather Research section works to improve the understanding of how clouds and precipitation behave and how they can influence the threat of severe weather and climate change," he explains.
"Their work includes using new observation techniques, like space remote sensing and radar, which will contribute to better weather warnings and forecasts."
It is research projects like these and many others that contribute to Dr. Brunet's love for the job. He says it is the diversity of the work, the scientific challenges, and constantly being exposed to different and fascinating topics linked to weather, climate and the environment, that make it so great.
"The research programme of my division is mission oriented, so I am always very proud to see its outcomes put into operation at the Canadian Meteorological Centre," he says. "This work is for the benefit of Canadians and their economy."
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