York prof’s wind research could help pilots avoid severe turbulence

Peter Taylor, professor in York’s Department of Earth & Space Science & Engineering, spoke about his research into winds, in a story about the possible causes of the sudden drop of an Air Canada flight in mid-air, on CBC TV’s “The National” Jan. 10.

Nobody knows for sure what happened to Air Canada Flight 190, but a couple of likely possibilities are starting to emerge, said reporter Ron Charles: number one, a mechanical problem; and two, severe turbulence.

A collection of antennas in a farmer’s field outside Windsor, Ont., is one attempt to provide pilots with better information about those high-level winds that can cause unpredictable turbulence. This wind profiler radar is the only system that can measure upper atmosphere winds constantly. The scientist [Taylor] who created it was thinking about incidents like today, reported Charles.

Taylor: In the medium-term future, meaning four to five years by the time this system has been developed and ingested into the numerical weather prediction analyses, then we should be able to produce better forecasts.

Diet, the new dirty word

Welcome to weight-loss month, wrote the National Post Jan. 11. There has been an overall shift in tone for diet advertising in recent years away from achieving thinness and toward better lifestyle and nutrition choices.

"It’s become more and more about health and balance," said Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business. "So we see the shift from it being exclusively appearance-focused to ‘I’m just going to feel better if I get back in shape.’ There is secondary motivation of health and feeling better over appearance. As the Boomers and the demographic skews older, we recognize that [the January diet craze] is a bit of a game and that resolutions can be made at any time of year."