Perspectives on Global Climate Change Impacts to Hydrosphere and Cryosphere
Speaker:Prof. Thian Yew GAN
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Alberta
Date & Time:26 Jul 2016 (Tuesday) 15:00 - 16:00
Venue:E11 – 1006
Organized by:Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


In recent years, severe storms have been occurring more frequently and in greater intensity across the world, resulting in serious damage, huge property losses and deaths, such as the Monsoon flood of Pakistan in 2010 that resulted in about 2000 deaths, the Tropical storm Washi of Philippines in 2011 with more than 1,200 deaths, the North India flood in 2013 that caused about 5,700 deaths. Apparently extreme events estimated to be of 100-year return period or higher had been occurring much more frequently.

On the other hand, semi-arid and arid regions across the world (of which some are also the heartland of agriculture) are prone to prolonged moisture deficit or droughts that lead to loss of multibillion dollar revenues from agriculture, resulted in famine and even countless deaths. Examples of severe droughts that affected many regions across the world in the first decade of the 21st century are such as the 2004-2005 severe droughts in western USA; the 2007-08 drought in south-eastern parts of South America was its worst drought since 1900; the 2005 drought of Greater Horn Africa seriously affected over 15 million people; the 2002 drought in central Russia had the lowest summer precipitation ever recorded; the 2006 and 2009 droughts of China damaged millions of hectares of crops; 2001-2010 had been the worst decade of drought in Australia.

Since the mid-20th century, the Earth has been undergoing potentially rapid changes in all cryospheric components: Arctic sea ice shrinkage, mountain glacier recession, thawing permafrost, diminishing snow cover, and accelerated melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Perspectives on the global energy balance, greenhouse effects and examples of observed changes to the hydrosphere and the cryosphere will be presented. Future climate scenarios projected by general circulation models (GCMs) of the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC, 2007), and that of the 5th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) of IPCC, and case studies based on regional climate models and land surface schemes will be discussed. The discussions will also include possible implications to the future global climate, hydrology, and water resources under the impacts of climate change.


Thian Yew Gan is a professor of civil engineering of the University of Alberta specializing in cryosphere, satellite data, hydrology, hydroclimatology, climate change. He is a research ambassador of DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He has published about 100 refereed journal papers, a book by the Cambridge University Press, and has over 3,000 scientific citations. He has been a visiting professor of the National U of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (2013, 2014); Aalto University, Finland (2013); a visiting scholar of United Nation University (UNU-FLORES), Germany (2013); a Rossby Fellow of Stockholm University, Sweden (2012); Erskine Fellow of University of Canterbury, New Zealand (2011); Visiting professor of Swiss Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland (2010); Research Scientist of Cemagraf, France (2009); CIRES Visiting Fellow of University of Colorado-Boulder (2007); Guest university professor (W3) of Technical University of Munich, Germany (2006-07); Adjunct professor of Utah State University, USA (1998-2005); Honorary Professor of Xian University of Technology and Yangtze University of China; JSPS Fellow of Kyoto University (2000) and guest professor of Saga University (1999) of Japan, and assistant professor of Asian Institute of Technology (1989- 1990), Bangkok.