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., McGinn, S., Glenn, A., Desjardins, R. 2017. Inverse dispersion measurements of methane emissions from manure storages in regions across Canada. CGU-CSAFM Joint Annual Scientific Meeting, May 28-31, 2017, Vancouver BC, Canada

    2017 - View publication details

  2. Guest, G., Smith, W., Grant, B., VanderZaag, A., Desjardins, R., McConkey, B. (2017). A comparative life cycle assessment highlighting the trade-offs of a liquid manure separator-composter in a Canadian dairy farm system. Journal of Cleaner Production, [online] 143 824-835. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.041

    2017 - View publication details

  3. Dutta, B., Grant, B.B., Campbell, C.A., Lemke, R.L., Desjardins, R.L., Smith, W.N. (2017). A multi model evaluation of long-term effects of crop management and cropping systems on nitrogen dynamics in the Canadian semi-arid prairie. Agricultural Systems, [online] 151 136-147. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2016.12.003

    2017 - View publication details

  4. Desjardins, R.L., Worth, D.E., MacPherson, J.I., Bastian, M., and Srinivasan, R. (2016). "Flux measurements by the NRC Twin Otter atmospheric research aircraft: 1987–2011.", Advances in Science and Research, 13, pp. 43-49. doi : 10.5194/asr-13-43-2016

    2016 - View publication details

  5. Betts, A.K., Desjardins, R.L., and Worth, D.E. (2016). "The Impact of Clouds, Land use and Snow Cover on Climate in the Canadian Prairies.", Advances in Science and Research, 13, pp. 37-42. doi : 10.5194/asr-13-37-2016

    2016 - View publication details

  6. Worth, D.E., Desjardins, R.L., MacDonald, D., Cerkowniak, D.D., McConkey, B.G., Dyer, J.A., and Vergé, X.P.C. (2016). "Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.", in Clearwater, R.L., Martin, T. and Hoppe, T. (eds.) - Environmental sustainability of Canadian agriculture: Agri-environmental indicator report series -- Report #4, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Chapter 15, pp. 169-179.

    2016 - View publication details

  7. Drury, C.F., Yang, J., DeJong, R., Huffman, E.C., Reid, K., Yang, X.M., Bittman, S., and Desjardins, R.L. (2016). "Residual Soil Nitrogen Indicator.", in Clearwater, R.L., Martin, T. and Hoppe, T. (eds.) - Environmental sustainability of Canadian agriculture: Agri-environmental indicator report series -- Report #4, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Chapter 11, pp. 115-120.

    2016 - View publication details

  8. Desjardins, R.L., Worth, D.E., Verge, X., Maxime, D., VanderZaag, A.C., Dyer, J.A., and Arcand, Y. (2016). "Greenhouse Gas Emission Intensities of Agricultural Products.", in Clearwater, R.L., Martin, T. and Hoppe, T. (eds.) - Environmental sustainability of Canadian agriculture: Agri-environmental indicator report series -- Report #4, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Chapter 18, pp. 211-222.

    2016 - View publication details

  9. Desjardins, R.L. 2016. GHG emissions associated with the livestock sector - Mitigation options to reduce emissions. CAPI - AAFC Workshop on Strategies to Reduce Net GHG Emissions in Agriculture. December 12, 2016, Ottawa, ON.

    2016 - View publication details

  10. Dutta, B., Congreves, K.A., Smith, W.N., Grant, B.B., Rochette, P., Chantigny, M.H., Desjardins, R.L. (2016). Improving DNDC model to estimate ammonia loss from urea fertilizer application in temperate agroecosystems. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, [online] 106(3), 275-292. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10705-016-9804-z

    2016 - View publication details

  11. Desjardins, R.L. 2016. Evapotranspiration estimates using the eddy covariance technique. China-Canada Water Resource Workshop, Ottawa, ON 2016/11/15.

    2016 - View publication details

  12. Smith, W.N., Grant, B., VanderZaag, A., Qi, Z., Drury, C., Desjardins, R., Pattey, E., Dutta, B., Guest, G. 2016. Overview of Canada DNDC model development and studies pertaining to crop water use and nutrient loss. China-Canada Water Resource Workshop, Ottawa, ON, Canada, November 15th, 2016.

    2016 - View publication details

  13. P Goglio, W Smith, B Grant, R Desjardins, D Worth, A Williams, P Burgess. 2016. Assessing methods to attribute soil greenhouse gas emissions to a crop in life cycle assessment of cropping systems. 10th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food 2016. http://www.lcafood2016.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/LCA2016_BookOfAbstracts.pdf#149

    2016 - View publication details

  14. "From fields to regions: Improving crop model predictions, using remote sensing-derived biophysical descriptors and climate data." Pattey, E.,Jégo, G. ,A. Vanderzaag, J. Liu, B. Qian, X. Geng; Res. Team: S. Admiral, M. Mesbah, D. Dow, T. HotteF. Baret, M. Weiss, R. Lacaze, F. Camacho, N. Beaudoin, R. Desjardins, T. Huffman, H. McNairn 2016. 2016 Canadian JECAM Site Update: CFIA-Ottawa. JECAM Science Meeting Kyiv, 11-12 Oct 2016 (poster).

    2016 - View publication details

  15. Desjardins, R.L., MacPherson, I., Schuepp, P.H., Worth, D.E., Pattey, E. 2016. Aircraft flux measurements during FIFE and BOREAS. How FIFE and BOREAS changed the world Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt 2016/10/06 - 2016/10/07.

    2016 - View publication details

  16. Pattey, E., Desjardins, R.L., Lamb, B., Miller, J. 2016. Tower flux measurements in support of … other tower-flux groups, aircraft teams, chemists, Earth observation. Workshop on How FIFE and BOREAS changed the world. Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt )6-07 Oct. 2016.

    2016 - View publication details

  17. Baldé, H., VanderZaag, A.C., Burtt, S.D., Wagner-Riddle, C., Crolla, A., Desjardins, R.L., MacDonald, D.J. (2016). Methane emissions from digestate at an agricultural biogas plant. Bioresource Technology, [online] 216 914-922. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2016.06.031

    2016 - View publication details

  18. Baldé, H., VanderZaag, A.C., Burtt, S.D., Gordon, R.J., and Desjardins, R.L. (2016 accepted). "Does fall removal of the dairy manure sludge in a storage tank reduce subsequent methane emissions?", Journal of Environmental Quality.

    2016 - View publication details

  19. Baldé, H., VanderZaag, A.C., Burtt, S., Evans, L., Wagner-Riddle, C., Desjardins, R.L., MacDonald, J.D. (2016). Measured versus modeled methane emissions from separated liquid dairy manure show large model underestimates. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, [online] 230 261-270. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2016.06.016

    2016 - View publication details

  20. Drury, C.F., Yang, J.Y., De Jong, R., Huffman, T., Reid, K., Yang, X.M., Bittman, S. and Desjardins, R. 2016. Residual Soil Nitrogen. Pages 114-120 in Clearwater, R. L., Martin, T. and Hoppe, T. (eds.) 2016. Environmental sustainability of Canadian agriculture: Agri-environmental indicator report series – Report #4. Ottawa, ON: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

    2016 - 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