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Canada's budget cuts threaten science

Feb. 13, 2012 at 2:53 PM   |   Comments

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Recent cuts at Environment Canada, responsible for meteorological services and environmental monitoring, are a threat to scientific research, scientists say.

Reductions in the scientific workforce of the Canadian government agency threaten research into the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere and pollution in the lower atmosphere, environmental scientists in the United States said.

"Canada is a bellwether for environmental change, not only for Arctic ozone depletion but for pollutants that stream to North America from other continents," Anne Thompson, a Penn State professor of meteorology, said. "It is unthinkable that data collection is beginning to shut down in this vast country, in some cases at stations that started decades ago."

Since August when the cuts went into effect, ozone soundings have ceased at several Canadian stations, measurements of particle pollution layers from five Canadian stations no longer occur, and the Web site that was distributing the data has closed down, a Penn State release reported Monday.

Reductions in personnel and projected budget cuts also threaten existing international agreements, researchers said, as Environment Canada conducts programs in support of international agreements, including the U.N. framework for Climate Change Convention, the Montreal Protocol and U.S. bilateral agreements.

"A number of research areas in which Canada has shown past leadership now face a questionable future," physicist Ray Hoff at the University of Maryland said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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