Welcome to the NETCARE Website

NETCARE (Network on Climate and Aerosols: Addressing Key Uncertainties in Remote Canadian Environments) is a network comprised of researchers from ten Canadian universities (Toronto, UBC, UQAM, Waterloo, UQAR, Laval, Dalhousie, Calgary, Sherbrooke, Victoria) and five partner institutions (Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Alfred Wegener Institute, Max Planck Institute, Johannes Gutenberg University). NETCARE is one of seven networks funded by the new Climate Change and Atmospheric Research (CCAR) program at NSERC.



Announcement - Connaught Summer Institute 2016

April 21st, 2016


Applications for the Connaught Summer Institute in Arctic Science are now being accepted. The Summer Institute is offered from July 18 to 22, 2016 in Alliston, Ontario. It is intended for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows engaged in Arctic research. It is open to students from across the University of Toronto, as well as from other institutions, both national and international.


The Summer Institute  brings together students and established scholars who are engaged in Arctic research, to provide an understanding of the Arctic climate and the processes that control it, and to establish an interdisciplinary forum in which they can discuss current challenges and identify emerging research opportunities in this area.The application deadline is May 30th, 2016.


Further details about the Summer Institute and the application form are available for download here:


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Research Blog

HQP Training at UDAL

In spring 2016 (from May 15 to 20), I had the opportunity to visit Rachel Chang and also meet with Richard Leaitch at Dalhousie University in Halifax to discuss and learn more about NETCARE’s aircraft observations related to cloud micro-physical processes and aerosols. It was an exciting journey traveling all the way from Canada’s west coast (Victoria, BC) to the east coast (Halifax, NS).

Richard Leitch (left), Rashed Mahmood (centre), Rachel Chang (right)
Richard Leitch (left), Rashed Mahmood (centre), Rachel Chang (right)

The meeting was motivated by the proposed simulations of the observed cloud micro-physical properties using a single column model. Most of the discussions were related to comparing single column model simulations, and GCM simulations, with aircraft measurements. We were particularly lucky to have Richard for discussions on aircraft measurements that clarified many questions that we had regarding observations and single column model simulations. Special thanks to Rachel Chang for hosting this event and to Richard Leaitch for giving us time and providing his expert opinions and thoughts both on observations and model simulations.


-Rashed Mahmood, NETCARE Post-Doctoral Fellow


HQP Training at CEOS

I had the opportunity to visit Dr. Tim Papakyriakou’s research group at the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS) at the University of Manitoba in early December of 2015, thanks to NetCare’s HQP training fund. Many members of the group at CEOS are responsible for making measurements of processes in the challenging environment of the marine Arctic. I work at the University of Victoria with a group on biogeochemical modelling of the marine Arctic in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. My work in our project is focused on carbon exchange between the air, sea, and ice in the Arctic Ocean. 


The Arctic Ocean is an extreme environment, with conditions often being very different from other marine environments. These conditions make it both unique and somewhat inaccessible, and I have not had the opportunity to experience it firsthand. But it is still important to have a basic understanding of the environmental processes, so it is very helpful to talk to people who have been there and had their boots on the ice.


This trip was aimed at fostering conversations and exchange between our respective groups in two ways. One was by describing how our model works, the assumptions that go into it, and explaining the types of observations that are most helpful in constraining our model. The second way is by learning what observational data is available, the limitations and uncertainties of the measurements, and what proposed measurements would be feasible in the field (or laboratory).


In conversations on my trip, I was able to talk with experts on measurement methods of air-sea and ice-sea gas exchange, of water and ice carbonate chemistry, and the techniques and associated limitations for measuring carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, ice, snow, and water column in the Arctic environment. This information has helped me better constrain our model through comparison to observations. It has also given me a better understanding of the processes involved in the seasonal ice cycle on both the ecosystem and the carbonate exchanges through the seasons.


In addition to these discussions about Arctic fieldwork and equipment, I was also given a tour of the Arctic Research Facility operated by CEOS (shown left). The large tank was in the process of being filled with water and salt mixture to closely match oceanic sea water conditions. It is then exposed to the open air, which in Winnipeg’s winters, can be similar to Arctic conditions.

I also saw a narwhal tusk/tooth (in the CEOS meeting room) and the world’s largest trilobite fossil (in the museum on the 1st floor of CEOS), both shown below.

I would like to thank the many researchers and staff in CEOS who took the time to talk with me and/or made my stay welcome, especially Tim, CJ, Wieter, Odile, Nix, Yubin, Tonya, and Jasmine, as well as NetCare for financial support.


-Eric Mortensen, NETCARE Graduate Student


NETCARE Research Configuration

NETCARE has been configured around four research activities that address key uncertainties in the field. The first three are focused on specific aerosol-climate connections – Carbonaceous Aerosol (Activity 1), Ice Cloud Formation and Impacts (Activity 2), Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions (Activity 3) – that remain poorly characterized.  These will be addressed through a variety of observational approaches.  The fourth - Implications of Measurements on Simulations of Atmospheric Processes and Climate (Activity 4) – integrates the results from Activities 1-3, approaching the subject from a comprehensive modeling perspective so as to provide a broad assessment of aerosol climate effects.   The figure below illustrates the vision inherent to the network: