Dr. Raymond Desjardins

Image Raymond Desjardins
Research Scientist

Atmospheric scientist (Air quality)

Current research and/or projects

C-PI  Sustainability metric projects: 1) Quantifying water use efficiency of crops 2) Regional methane emission estimates 3) Radiative forcing due to land use change 4) Mesoscale and turbulent transfer.

Research and/or project statements

As an expert in micrometeorology he developed techniques to quantify mass and energy exchange using tower and aircraft-based systems as well as techniques to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from point sources. He works with national and international teams in quantifying the role of the major terrestrial ecosystems on climate as well as the role of climate change on these ecosystems. He used aircraft-based flux measuring techniques to verify agriculture greenhouse gas inventory of methane and nitrous oxide at a regional scale. Some of my recent research is focused on improving estimates of the carbon footprint of agricultural products and helping Canadian farmers compete on the international markets. He co-edited and co-authored two books: “Health of our Air” and “Better Farming Better Air” which shed light on how efficient farming can improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Professional activities / interests

  • Program Leader of Greenhouse Gas Initiative Central Region (1991-97)
  • Principal investigator on a government funded project on climate change to develop techniques to better understand biosphere atmosphere interactions (1992-1996)
  • Principal investigator in the First ISLSCP Field Experiment (FIFE) sponsored by NASA (1987-89)
  • Principal investigator of trace gas exchange as part of the Northern Wetlands Study near James Bay (1990-91)
  • Co-investigator of the California Ozone Deposition Experiment (CODE) in the San Joaquin Air Quality Study (1991-92)
  • Principal investigator in the Southern Great Plain (SGP) Experiment in Oklahoma (1997-98)
  • Co-investigator in the Canadian GEWEX project in the MacKenzie basin (1998-2000)
  • Team leader of AAFC project on Reducing GHG Emissions (2000-2007)
  • Team Leader of the agriculture component of the government PERD Climate Change program on the Enhancement of GHG Sinks in Canada (1997- 2007)
  • Team leader of AAFC’s project on Quantifying and reducing GHG emissions, ammonia and particulate matter from agroecosystems (2007-2011)
  • Team leader of the Air Quality Indicator and LCA projects in AAFC (2009-2013)
  • Co-PI on a SAGES project in AAFC on developing improved process-based models and tools to better estimate GHG emissions at the provincial and national scales (2009-2013)

Education and awards

  • B.Sc. (Hons.) Physics, University of Ottawa, 1963

  • MSc. Meteorology, University of Toronto, 1965

  • Ph.D. Micrometeorology, Cornell University, 1972.

  • 1995 “Agriculture Excellence Award” for his leadership role in First ISLSCP Field Experiment (FIFE)

  • 1999 Fellow of Canadian Society of Agricultural Meteorology

  • 1999 Fellow of American Society of Agronomy

  • 2000 Fellow of Agricultural Institute of Canada

  • 2001 “Science Award to the Leaders of Sustainable Development” 

  • 2002 Co-recipient of “Norbert Gerbier - MUMM International Award” WMO

  • 2007 Co-recipient of “Nobel Peace Prize Laureate” for his contribution to IPCC.

  • 2008 “Award of Excellence” from Public Service of Canada

  • 2009 “Gold Harvest Award” from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

  • 2010 Award for“Outstanding Achievement in Biometeorology” from American Meteorological Society

  • 2010 Award for Exceptional Service to the Commission of Agricultural Meteorology of the World Meteorological Organization

  • 2012 Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

  • 2013 Special session at the Americam Meteorological Society, Atmospheric Biogeoscience Conference

  • 2012 Received Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his national and   international contribution to the science of climate change

  • 2018 Award for Exceptional Service to CAgM of the World Meteorological Organization.

  • 2018 Appointed Member of the Order of Canda

International experience and/or work

  • Involved in many multidisciplinary international field experiments (FIFE, BOREAS, SGP.SMACEX, CODE, NOWES, MAGS, etc.) on a variety of subjects including water and nitrogen use efficiency of crops, biomass production, nutrient cycling of plants, and carbon sequestration.
  • Principal resource officer for a CIDA project in Brazil 1983-87.
  • Sabbatical leave at INRA, Grignon, France 1984-85.
  • Leader of the Expert Team on the Contribution of Agriculture to Climate of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) (2002-2006).
  • Canadian Delegate to the CAgM of the WMO (1990, 1995, 2014, 2018), Head of Delegation (1999, 2002, 2006).
  • Member of the Management Group of CAgM, WMO 2014-2018.

Key publications

  1. VanderZaag, A., Balde, H., Desjardins, R., Wagner-Riddle, C., Gordon, R., MacDonald, D., Crolla, A. Emission from Biogas and Digestate in Canada. Federal Provincial Territorial Biogas Collective Webinar, November 10, 2021. (Presentation)

    2021 - View publication details

  2. Ward Smith, Brian Grant, Ray Desjardins, Andrew VanderZaag, Craig Drury, Claudia Wagner-Riddle, Elizabeth Pattey, Budong Qian, Mervin St. Luce, Brian McConkey, Wentian He, Rong Jiang. 2021. Canada DNDC, a full farm agroecosystem model for identifying sustainable and resilient agricultural management. Workshop on Soil Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Emission Mitigation Modeling in Agriculture. AAFC, Agricultural Climate Solutions. Nov. 3-4, 2021.

    2021 - View publication details

  3. VanderZaag, A., Rajagopal, R. Desjardins, R., Coates, T., Hao, X., Bittman, S. 2021. Reducing Emissions from Manure Management. Report to AAFC’s Climate Change Roadmap project. 32 pp

    2021 - View publication details

  4. Liu, J., Worth, D.E., Desjardins, R.L., Haak, D., McConkey, B., Cerkowniak, D. (2021). Influence of two management practices in the Canadian Prairies on radiative forcing. Science of the Total Environment, [online] 765 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142701

    2021 - View publication details

  5. Liang, C., MacDonald, D., Thiagarajan, A., Flemming, C., Cerkowniak, D., Desjardins, R. (2020). Developing a country specific method for estimating nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soils in Canada. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, [online] 117(2), 145-167. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10705-020-10058-w

    2020 - View publication details

  6. He, W., Dutta, B., Grant, B.B., Chantigny, M.H., Hunt, D., Bittman, S., Tenuta, M., Worth, D., VanderZaag, A., Desjardins, R.L., Smith, W.N. (2020). Assessing the effects of manure application rate and timing on nitrous oxide emissions from managed grasslands under contrasting climate in Canada. Science of the Total Environment, [online] 716 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135374

    2020 - View publication details

  7. Liang, B.C., VandenBygaart, A.J., MacDonald, J.D., Cerkowniak, D., McConkey, B.G., Desjardins, R.L., Angers, D.A. (2020). Revisiting no-till's impact on soil organic carbon storage in Canada. Soil & Tillage Research, [online] 198 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2019.104529

    2020 - View publication details

  8. Betts, A.K., Chan, D.Z., Desjardins, R.L. (2019). Near-Surface Biases in ERA5 Over the Canadian Prairies. Frontiers in Environmental Science, [online] 7 http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2019.00129

    2019 - View publication details

  9. Baldé, H., Zaag, A.V., Smith, W., Desjardins, R.L. (2019). Ammonia Emissions Measured Using Two Different GasFinder Open-Path Lasers. Atmosphere, [online] 10(5), http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/atmos10050261

    2019 - View publication details

  10. Smith, W., Qi, Z., Grant, B., VanderZaag, A., Desjardins, R. (2019). Comparing hydrological frameworks for simulating crop biomass, water and nitrogen dynamics in a tile drained soybean-corn system: Cascade vs computational approach. Journal of Hydrology X, [online] 2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hydroa.2018.100015

    2019 - View publication details

  11. VanderZaag, A.C., Baldé, H., Habtewold, J., Le Riche, E.L., Burtt, S., Dunfield, K., Gordon, R.J., Jenson, E., Desjardins, R.L. (2019). Intermittent agitation of liquid manure: effects on methane, microbial activity, and temperature in a farm-scale study. Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association, [online] 69(9), 1096-1106. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10962247.2019.1629359

    2019 - View publication details

  12. Vergé, X., VanderZaag, A.C., Desjardins, R.L., McConkey, B. (2018). Synergistic effects of complementary production systems help reduce livestock environmental burdens. Journal of Cleaner Production, [online] 200 858-865. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.08.016

    2018 - View publication details

  13. Baldé, H., VanderZaag, A.C., Burtt, S.D., Wagner-Riddle, C., Evans, L., Gordon, R., Desjardins, R.L., MacDonald, J.D. (2018). Ammonia emissions from liquid manure storages are affected by anaerobic digestion and solid-liquid separation. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, [online] 258 80-88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.01.036

    2018 - View publication details

  14. Smith, W., Grant, B., He, W., VanderZaag, A., Qian, B., Desjardins, R., Jerecki, M., Wagner-Riddle, C., Deen, W., and Drury, C. 2018. Poster: Management strategies to reduce adverse impacts of climate change on cropping systems. World Meteorological Organization Technical Conference on Future Challenges and Opportunities in Agricultural Meteorology, Songdo Convensia, Incheon, Republic of Korea, 14-20 April, 2018

    2018 - View publication details

  15. Dutta, B., Grant, B.B., Congreves, K.A., Smith, W.N., Wagner-Riddle, C., VanderZaag, A.C., Tenuta, M., Desjardins, R.L. (2018). Characterising effects of management practices, snow cover, and soil texture on soil temperature: Model development in DNDC. Biosystems Engineering, [online] 168 54-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biosystemseng.2017.02.001

    2018 - View publication details

  16. Goglio, P., Smith, W.N., Worth, D.E., Grant, B.B., Desjardins, R.L., Chen, W., Tenuta, M., McConkey, B.G., Williams, A., Burgess, P. (2018). Development of Crop.LCA, an adaptable screening life cycle assessment tool for agricultural systems: A Canadian scenario assessment. Journal of Cleaner Production, [online] 172 3770-3780. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.06.175

    2018 - View publication details

  17. Goglio, P., Smith, W.N., Grant, B.B., Desjardins, R.L., Gao, X., Hanis, K., Tenuta, M., Campbell, C.A., McConkey, B.G., Nemecek, T., Burgess, P.J., Williams, A.G. (2018). A comparison of methods to quantify greenhouse gas emissions of cropping systems in LCA. Journal of Cleaner Production, [online] 172 4010-4017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.03.133

    2018 - View publication details

  18. Desjardins, R.L., Worth, D.E., Pattey, E., VanderZaag, A., Srinivasan, R., Mauder, M., Worthy, D., Sweeney, C., Metzger, S. (2018). The challenge of reconciling bottom-up agricultural methane emissions inventories with top-down measurements. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, [online] 248 48-59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.09.003

    2018 - View publication details

  19. Guest, G., Smith, W., Grant, B., McConkey, B., Chipanshi, A., Reid, K., Kroebel, R., Martel, M., Desjardins, R., VanderZaag, A., Pattey, E., Glenn, A., Wilson, H., Balde, H., Wagner-Riddle, C., Drury, C.F., Fuller, K., Hayashi, M., Reynolds, D. (2018). Comparing the performance of the dndc, holos, and vsmb models for predicting the water partitioning of various crops and sites across Canada. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, [online] 98(2), 212-231. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjss-2017-0112

    2018 - View publication details

  20. Smith, W., Qi, Z., Grant, B.,VanderZaag, A., Desjardins, R. 2017. Comparison of DNDC and RZWQM2 for simulating hydrology and N dynamics in a corn-soybean system with a winter cover crop. B53B Agricultural Systems: Links Between Hydrology and Biogeochemical Cycling III posters, AGU Fall meeting, December 15th 2017, New Orleans, United States.

    2017 - View publication details

Research facility

960 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6


  • Member of Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society since 1975
  • Member of the American Meteorological Society since 1975
  • Member of the American Geophysical Union since 1997
  • Member of the Agricultural Institute of Canada since 1990
  • Member of the American Society of Agronomy since 1975
  • Member of the Royal Society of Canada since 2012
  • Member of the board of Agricultural Meteorology 1993-2010
  • Adjunct Professor Laval and McGill Univ. 1985-98
  • Principal resource officer for CIDA project in Agroclimatic Research for the State of Parana in Brazil, (1982-86).
  • Scientific advisor in agrometeorological research for the province of Quebec (1980-1990)
  • Member of the editorial board of the J. Agronomie (1990-93)
  • Team leader on expert team on the contribution of agriculture to the state of climate for CAgM of WMO 2002-2006.
  • Member of the management group of CAgM ,WMO 2014-2018.
  • Member of the scientific advisory committee of FluxNet Canada (2002- 2007)
  • Member of the editorial board of the journal Advances in Meteorology (2009- 2013)
  • Chair of the scientific committee for the GHG Mitigation Programme (2001-2006)
  • Member of the Order of Canada since 2018