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Dr. David Sills, PhD

Anchor 1
Professional ​
Executive Director - Northern Tornadoes Project
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Western University, London, ON


Research Interests


  • Tornadoes and other summer severe weather

  • Low-level mesoscale boundaries (including Great Lakes lake-breeze fronts and Alberta drylines) and their influence on severe storms

  • Severe thunderstorm detection and nowcasting
Research and Projects

Contributing to the protection of the lives and property of Canadians against severe and extreme weather

  • Tornadoes and their climatology via the Northern Tornadoes Project

  • Development of advanced techniques for severe thunderstorm nowcasting

  • 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)


Professional activities / interests


  • Serve on the ASCE Tornado Wind Speed Estimation (EF-Scale) Standards Committee

  • Serve as Associate Editor for the scientific journals Atmosphere-Ocean and Monthly Weather Review

  • Provide scientific reviews of journal manuscripts (e.g. Bulletin of the AMS, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, Weather and Forecasting, 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 meteorologists and engineers through dynamic presentations (e.g., change of season workshops, damage survey training sessions) and real-time interactive learning

  • Served on the WMO Nowcasting and Mesoscale Research Working Group

  • Supervised and served on defence committees for graduate students: York University, University of Manitoba, McMaster University, University of Western Ontario, Queensland University

  • Served on scientific committees for various professional meetings and/or convened sessions (e.g., CMOS Congress, Great Lakes Operational Meteorology Workshop, field study workshops including NTP, UNSTABLE, BAQS-Met)

Key Publications
  • Sills, D. M. L., G. A. Kopp, L. Elliott, A. Jaffe, E. Sutherland, C. Miller, J. Kunkel, E. Hong, S. Stevenson, and W. Wang, 2020: The Northern Tornadoes Project - uncovering Canada’s true tornado climatology. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., DOI 10.1175/BAMS-D-20-0012.1.
  • Sills, D. M. L., and P. I. Joe, 2019: A short history of severe thunderstorm research and forecasting in Canada. Atmosphere-Ocean, DOI 10.1080/07055900.2019.1673145.
  • Brooks, H. E., C. A. Doswell III, X. Zhang, A. Chernokulsky, E. Tochimoto, B. Hanstrum, E. de Lima Nascimento, D. M. L. Sills, B. Antonescu, and B. Barrett, 2019: A century of progress in severe convective storm research and forecasting. Meteorological Monographs, DOI 10.1175/AMSMONOGRAPHS-D-18-0026.1.
  • Alexander, L. S., D. M. L. Sills and P. A. Taylor, 2018: Initiation of summer convective storms at mesoscale boundaries in southwestern Ontario. Weather and Forecasting, 33, 583-598, DOI: 10.1175/WAF-D-17-0086.1

  • Brunet, D., D. Sills, and N. Driedger, 2019: On the verification of probabilistic thunderstorms forecasts and the automated generation of thunderstorm threat areas during ECPASS. Weather and Forecasting, DOI 10.1175/WAF-D-19-0011.1.

  • 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, 10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00093.1

  • 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

  • Ph.D. Atmospheric Science, York University, 1998

  • Cerificate in Meteorology, York University, 1993

  • B.Sc. Atmospheric Science, York University, 1993

  • CMOS Rube Hornstein Medal in Operational Meteorology, 2017

  • Geoff Howell Citation of Excellence for Innovation, 2016

& Awards
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