Wayne F. J. Evans

Atmospheric Science

Atmospheric scientist who has worked on several space satellite missions.

"Global warming is a problem that is affecting the whole world and because the gas lifetime in the atmosphere is so long it will take a long time to deal with it. The scale of the problem in time and space is just mind-boggling."

“Land of Living Skies” proclaims the Saskatchewan license plate. The prairie province is famous for its huge skies filled with billowing clouds or sheets of rustling Northern Lights.

So, it made sense that Wayne Evans, a prairie boy, became fascinated by the sky. “I used to watch B-52 bombers fly North and the Aurora Borealis,” recalls Evans.

His initial fascination in the sky led him to pursue science degrees at the University of Saskatchewan. For his master’s he studied the Aurora Borealis, but he found his true love for his Ph.D. The atmosphere.

Since his beginning his Ph.D. Evans has studied many of the chemicals that make up our atmosphere through the use of weather balloons and satellites. Through good luck, he was researching the ozone layer just before the ozone layer caused by CFCs was discovered in the 1980s.

His research took off (literally) when he moved to Ottawa to work for Environment Canada and launch the STRATOPROBE. Data from that satellite and others were used to keep accurate measurements of ozone depletion in the Arctic and the concentration of CFCs worldwide. Because of his and other scientific data, world leaders signed the Montreal Protocol which banned CFCs and helped restore the ozone layer.

After 15 years, Evans moved to Trent University in Peterborough to pursue another area of developing interest after the ozone layer: greenhouse gases. He combined with teams at York University, the University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Waterloo to measure and monitor greenhouse gases.

“It’s been my most important work,” says Evans of his greenhouse gas research. Evans hopes that his measurements of greenhouse gases will have the same impact that measuring ozone had. “We’re talking about a problem that is affecting the whole world and because the gas lifetime in the atmosphere is so long it will take a long time to deal with it.”

By Graeme Stemp-Morlock

As a young scientist ...

Growing up in the Saskatchewan prairies, Evans fell in love with the big skies. The Northern Lights and jet contrail as B-52 bombers flew overhead excited his imagination.

The Science