Lab Canada

Atmospheric physicist named director of new School of the Environment

Toronto, ON – Kimberly Strong, a physicist who leads investigations of the Earth’s atmosphere, will soon lead the University of Toronto’s new School of the Environment. Her term begins on July 1, 2013.

The School of the Environment was established last July. It offers undergraduate programs, and at the graduate level, interdisciplinary collaborative programs in environmental studies, as well as in environment and health, are offered in partnership with 20 other units at the university.

Strong’s research in atmospheric measurements examines such key environmental issues as climate change and its relationship to contributing factors including stratospheric ozone depletion and tropospheric pollution. She has directed ground-based, balloon-borne and satellite projects to study the Earth’s atmosphere, particularly in the Arctic.

“We are thrilled to have Kim Strong serve as director of the School of the Environment,” said Meric S. Gertler, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science. “Kim has an extraordinary record as a researcher and has an enviable track record in encouraging and supporting the next generation of environmental scholars and scientists.”

Strong is one of the founding members of the Canadian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change, a group of researchers working to improve atmospheric remote sounding in Canada. In 2004, the group obtained funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to equip the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) at Eureka, Nunavut to provide a long-term data set for studying the evolution of the Arctic atmosphere and its year-to-year variability. From 1998 to 2006, Strong was principal investigator of the Middle Atmosphere Nitrogen TRend Assessment (MANTRA) project, a large collaboration that used high-altitude instrument-carrying balloons to measure trace gases and investigate the changing chemical balance in the mid-latitude stratosphere.

She is currently director of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Training Program in Arctic Atmospheric Science. The program enhances the educational opportunities available to students and postdoctoral fellows interested in polar, atmospheric, and climate sciences, including the use of state-of-the-art instrumentation and analysis of large data sets.  She also runs U of T’s Atmospheric Observatory (TAO), is principal investigator of the new Canadian Fourier Transform InfraRed Observing Network (CAFTON), and is actively involved in several projects related to better understanding of the atmospheres of Mars and Venus.

Strong joined U of T’s Department of Physics as an assistant professor in 1996 and became associate professor in 2001, and professor in 2006. She is also a member of U of T’s Centre for Global Change Science.  In 2010, Strong was a visiting fellow at the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Wollongong, Australia. Her awards include the Premier’s Research Excellence Award (2004) and an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement award for three years (2011).