Gabrielle Gascon, Physical Sciences Specialist, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Gabrielle Gascon is a Physical Sciences Specialist at Environment and Climate Change Canada. She bikes to work almost every day. In her spare time, Gabrielle enjoys cooking, hiking, skiing, and taking care of her garden.

As long as I can remember, I showed interest in weather, from finding shapes in small cumulus clouds to playing outside in a snowstorm. Wanting to know more about the atmosphere, I enrolled in McGill University, with a specialization in meteorology and oceanography.

Performing kinematic GPS survey on the Belcher Glacier, a tributary glacier of the Devon Ice Cap (May 2011).

Performing kinematic GPS survey on the Belcher Glacier, a tributary glacier of the Devon Ice Cap (May 2011).

During my undergrad, I hadn’t considered a career in research. However, I was given a chance to be a part of the Storm Studies in the Arctic research program. I used this opportunity to complete a Master’s degree in atmospheric science at McGill University. As part of the research program, I went to Iqaluit for a two-month field campaign to study the dynamics of severe winter storms. On one of our research flights aboard the NRCan Convair-580, we flew over the Penny Ice Cap on Baffin Island. I was in awe of such a large body of ice, and it raised a ton of questions about the Earth System I did not have answers for.

A time-lapse camera is installed to monitor the evolution of a moulin on the Belcher Glacier (May 2012).

A time-lapse camera is installed to monitor the evolution of a moulin on the Belcher Glacier (May 2012).

With so many questions, I packed my bags and moved to Edmonton to pursue a PhD in glaciology and atmospheric science at the University of Alberta. My research project focused on understanding ice-atmosphere interactions in the Canadian Arctic. I enjoyed field work on the Devon Ice Cap, Nunavut, collecting glaciology and meteorology measurements. This included using snowmobiles and ground-penetrating radar to collect information on the ice stratigraphy, installing time-lapse cameras, and taking GPS measurements to track ice movement. Looking back, the biggest highlight of my graduate degrees was having the opportunity to combine research, field work, and teaching. 

A GPS is used to ground truth a cliff in order to georeference satellite images (May 2012).

A GPS is used to ground truth a cliff in order to georeference satellite images (May 2012).

Now, as a Physical Sciences Specialist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, I am currently contributing to our weather forecasting capabilities in the Arctic through new and innovative applied research.

My advice to young researchers would be to follow your passion and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

Gabrielle enjoying the sun during a break on the Devon Ice cap (May 2011).

Gabrielle enjoying the sun during a break on the Devon Ice cap (May 2011).

Date modified: