Environment alumnus named to the Order of Canada

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Respected Arctic scholar and Faculty of Environment alumnus receives one of Canada's highest civilian honours David Barber, man with white hair and beard on laptop surrounded by expedition supplies

Dr. David Barber was recently appointed to officer of the Order of Canada for his leadership in environmental science and contributions to the study of Arctic sea ice.

He is the Director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS), Canada Research Chair in Arctic System Science, and Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources at the University of Manitoba. 

Barber studied Arctic Climatology under the supervision of Professor Ellsworth LeDrew and received his Ph.D. in 1992; a time when climate change in the Arctic wasn't as apparent as it is today. "We did not see a global climate change signal in the High Arctic," he said. "But Dr. LeDrew reminded us that we should expect to see the ‘first and strongest’ signs of global warming at high latitudes of the planet - turns out he was correct."

Looking back, Barber credits Professor LeDrew for educating him, not only in the theoretical and practical aspects of Arctic climate change research but also in creating the networks between industry, government and academia that are necessary to make research in the high Arctic possible.

Today, Barber is an internationally respected researcher studying the influence of climate change on Arctic sea processes and the resulting impacts on human and marine systems. He leads annual research trips aboard the Canadian icebreaker, the CCGS Amundsen and was instrumental in developing ArticNet’s Schools on Board program, an outreach initiative that gives teachers and high school students the opportunity to join the crew on research trips.  

With the Arctic sea ice at its second lowest level in recorded history, it's critical work Barber considers a privilege to do.

"It has been said that success is found by standing on the shoulders of giants," he said. "Certainly my success has been incubated both by Dr. LeDrew and the University of Waterloo; and for that, I will forever be grateful."

The Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Dr. Barber is among 100 new appointments announced by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada on December 30, 2016.

The Faculty of Environment currently has several fully-funded PhD opportunities for domestic students interested in climate change topics.

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