David Sills, PhD

Image David Sills
Severe Weather Scientist - Investigating hazardous summer weather and techniques for forecasting/nowcasting
Environment and Climate Change Canada

Current research and/or projects

Contributing to Environment Canada’s mandate to protect the lives and property of Canadians against severe and extreme weather

  • Low-level convergence boundaries (lake-breeze fronts, thunderstorm gust fronts, drylines) and their relationship to severe weather (heavy rain, hail, damaging wind and tornadoes) and hazardous levels of air pollutants (ozone and particulate matter)
  • Tornadoes and their climatology
  • Total lightning (Southern Ontario Lightning Mapping Array, GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper)
  • Development of advanced prototype tools and techniques for severe weather nowcasting such as the interactive Convective Analysis and Storm Tracking prototype
  • Bridging the gap between meteorological research and operations

Professional activities / interests

Serve as Environment Canada representative on the ASCE EF-Scale Standards Committee

Provide scientific reviews of journal manuscripts (e.g. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, Weather and Forecasting, Atmosphere-Ocean, Atmospheric Environment, Atmospheric Research, Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, Hydrological Processes, Journal of Climatology, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Alternatives)

Transfer of science knowledge to operational meteorologists through dynamic presentations (e.g., change of season workshops, damage survey training sessions) and real-time interactive learning

Supervise and serve on defence committees for graduate students at York University and University of Manitoba

Organize professional meetings (e.g., 2010 and 2016 Great Lakes Operational Meteorology Workshops, Toronto, ON; 2007 UNSTABLE Science Workshop, Edmonton, AB; 2006 BAQS-Met Science Workshop, Toronto, ON; 2005 3rd MSC Forecasters Forum, Montreal, PQ)

Education and awards

CMOS Rube Hornstein Medal in Operational Meteorology, 2017

Geoff Howell Citation of Excellence for Innovation, 2016

Ph.D. Atmospheric Science, York University, 1998

Cerificate in Meteorology, York University, 1993

B.Sc. Atmospheric Science, York University, 1993

Key publications

Brunet, D. and D. Sills, 2016: A generalized distance transform: theory and applications to weather analysis and forecasting. IEEE Geoscience & Remote Sensing, 10.1109/TGRS.2016.2632042.

Curry, M., J. Hanesiak and D. Sills, 2015: A radar-based investigation of lake breezes in southern Manitoba, Canada. Atmos.-Ocean, 53, 237-250.

Wentworth, G. R., J. G. Murphy and D. M. L. Sills, 2015: Impact of lake breezes on ozone, nitrogen oxides, and fine particulate matter levels in the Greater Toronto Area. Atmos Env, 109, 52-60, 2015.

Cheng, V. Y. S., G. B. Arhonditsis, D. M. L. Sills, H. Auld, M. W. Shephard, Wm. A. Gough, and J. Klaassen, 2013: Probability of tornado occurrence across Canada. J. Climate, 26, 9415-9428.

Sills, D. M. L., J. R. Brook, I. Levy, P. A. Makar, J. Zhang, and P. A. Taylor, 2011: Lake breezes in the southern Great Lakes region and their influence during BAQS-Met 2007.Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 11: 7955-7973.

Taylor, N. M., D. M. L. Sills, J. M. Hanesiak, J. A. Milbrandt, C. D. Smith, G. S. Strong, S. H. Skone, P. J. McCarthy, and J. C. Brimelow, 2011: The Understanding Severe Thunderstorms and Alberta Boundary Layers Experiment (UNSTABLE) 2008. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 92: 739-763.

Sills, D. M. L.. 2009: On the MSC Forecasters Forums and the Future Role of the Human Forecaster. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 90: 619-627.

Sills, D.M.L., J.W. Wilson, P.I. Joe, D.W. Burgess, R.M. Webb and N.I. Fox. 2004. The 3 November tornadic event during Sydney 2000: storm evolution and the role of low-level boundaries. Weather and Forecasting. 19:22-42.