Scott Lamoureux, Geography
When the Bank of Canada unveiled its ultra-secure, environmentally-friendly polymer bank notes in June, Queen’s geography professor Scott Lamoureux was delighted by the design on the new $50 bill.
That’s because it features the Canadian icebreaker CCGS Amundsen: an Arctic research project which Dr. Lamoureux helped initiate.
Decommissioned by the Coast Guard in 2000, the former CCGS Sir John Franklin icebreaker was reborn three years later as a thoroughly modernized research vessel, thanks to a consortium of Canadian universities and research centres, in partnership with the federal government. Following a $30-million renovation funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the CCGS Amundsen made its debut.
“What’s unique about the Amundsen is that management of the ship remains in the hands of the Coast Guard, and they can use it for ice-breaking in the lower St. Lawrence River during the winter months,” says Dr. Lamoureux. “Then from May to December it functions as a state-of-the-art research vessel, addressing multidisciplinary questions raised by climate change, as part of the ArcticNet National Centres of Excellence. There have also been two winters when the Admundsen was frozen into the Arctic ice to carry out research.”
His Queen’s research – one of the original ArcticNet projects – examines ways that land-based systems contribute to coastal marine systems. One of the group’s goals is to understand the linkages between land and fresh water in the Arctic environment. “We’ve gone from compartmentalizing the Arctic into vegetation, animals, etc. to seeing it as a continuum,” says Dr. Lamoureux. “Groups like ArcticNet are essential because they promote interaction among many different kinds of research communities.”
While National Centres of Excellence normally focus on a transfer of research to industry, ArcticNet functions somewhat differently, he notes. In this case, the “user group” includes Inuit and government organizations at the federal, territorial and community levels.
“This seemed the best approach for responsible development and management of northern resources in response to climate change,” says Dr. Lamoureux. “The main objective of all our ArcticNet projects is to generate knowledge that will help northern societies and industries prepare for the full impact of environmental and societal changes in the Canadian Arctic. Communication and partnership with the Inuit is central to ArcticNet.”