Over the past few years there have been severe cutbacks in funding to atmospheric research. This has resulted in the departure from Canada of talented young researchers. Long-term research programs have suffered from this withdrawal of scientific talent and basic funding.
Much of the activity in our well-regarded Atmospheric-Optics Lab has been effectively discontinued -- not for lack of interest or lack of important problems to study -- but due to a lack of research funding.
The green beam emanating from our laser radar that has been a popular sight above Halifax each summer since 2004 is off, possibly for good..
Over the past ten years the AOLab team designed, built and operated high-tech laser radar (lidar) systems in Halifax, in the High Arctic, and on Mars. We participated in international atmospheric measurement campaigns studying climate change and air quality. Dozens of students were trained in laser radar technology and atmospheric science. You can read all about it on our old home page.
There are still many invitations to collaborate on research, both from national and international partners. However, we have not been able to secure ongoing funding for our activities. The elimination of CFCAS (Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science) as a funding organization and changes to programs at NSERC (Natural Science and Engineering Research Council) resulted in a funding gap that the group was not able to bridge. A team that took ten years to build was destroyed in less than six months. Some of our most valued team members have taken up new positions in other countries.
For more information on government cutbacks and the implications for environmental research that protects your health and safety, see Tom Duck's Media Interviews. Tom Duck's other activities are described on his home page.
Prof. Thomas J. Duck
Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 3J5