Climatic Research Unit

Climatic Research Unit

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Climatic Research Unit'
Start a new discussion about 'Climatic Research Unit'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
{{pp-move-indef}} [[File:Hubert Lamb Building.jpg|right|thumb|The Hubert Lamb Building, University of East Anglia, where the Climatic Research Unit is based]] The '''Climatic Research Unit''' (CRU) is a component of the [[University of East Anglia]] and is one of the leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and [[human impact on the environment|anthropogenic]] [[climate change]]. With a staff of some thirty research scientists and students, the CRU has contributed to the development of a number of the data sets widely used in climate research, including one of the global temperature records used to monitor the state of the climate system, as well as statistical software packages and [[climate model]]s. ==History== The CRU was founded in 1971 as part of the university's [[Environmental science|School of Environmental Sciences]]. The establishment of the Unit owed much to the support of Sir [[Graham Sutton]], a former Director-General of the [[Meteorological Office]], Lord [[Solly Zuckerman]], an adviser to the University, and Professors [[Keith Clayton]] and [[Brian Funnel]], Deans of the School of Environmental Sciences in 1971 and 1972. Initial sponsors included [[BP|British Petroleum]], the [[Nuffield Foundation]] and [[Royal Dutch Shell]]. The [[Rockefeller Foundation]] was another early benefactor, and the [[Wolfson Foundation]] gave the Unit its current building in 1986. Since the second half of the 1970s the Unit has also received funding through a series of contracts with the [[United States Department of Energy]] to support the work of those involved in climate reconstruction and analysis of the effects on climate of [[greenhouse gas]] emissions. The first director of the unit was Professor [[Hubert Lamb]]. He had led research into climatic variation at the [[Met Office]] and was chair of the UN's [[World Meteorological Organisation]], which already studied climate trends and the effect of [[pollution]] upon them. He was then known as the "''ice man''" for his prediction of [[global cooling]] and a coming [[ice age]] but, following the UK's exceptionally [[1976 United Kingdom heat wave|hot summer of 1976]], he switched to predicting a more imminent [[global warming]]. The possibility of major weather changes and flooding attracted attention to the unit and sponsorship by major [[insurance]] companies wanting to mitigate their potential losses. Prior to the Unit's establishment, it had widely been believed by the meteorological establishment that the climate was essentially constant and unvarying. Lamb and others in the climatological community had for years argued that the climate system was in fact highly variable on timescales of decades to centuries and longer. The establishment of the CRU enabled Lamb and his colleagues to focus on this issue and eventually to win the argument decisively. Hubert Lamb retired in 1978. His successors were [[Tom Wigley]] (1978–93), [[Trevor Davies]] (1993–1998), [[Jean Palutikof]] and [[Phil Jones (climatologist)|Phil Jones]] (jointly 1998-2004), and Phil Jones (2004–present), with Peter Liss as acting director during investigations between December 2009 and July 2010. In 1984, the unit moved to a new cylindrical building designed by [[Rick Mather]]. In 2006, this was named the ''Hubert Lamb Building'' in honour of the first director. ==Activities== At the time of its establishment the CRU set out four key aims, which still remain valid: * To establish firmer knowledge of the history of climate in the recent and distant past. * To monitor and report on current climatic developments on a global scale. * To identify the processes (natural and man-made) at work in climatic fluctuations and the characteristic timescales of their evolution. * To investigate the possibilities of making advisory statements about future trends of weather and climate from a season to many years ahead, based on acceptable scientific methods and in a form likely to be useful for long-term planning purposes. One of the CRU's most significant products is the global near-surface [[Instrumental temperature record|temperature record]] compiled in conjunction with the [[Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research]]. First compiled in the early 1980s, the record documents global temperature fluctuations since the 1850s. The CRU compiles the land component of the record and the Hadley Centre provides the marine component. The merged record is used by the [[Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]] in all its publications. It is also involved in a study of Eurasian climate over the last 10,000 years based upon [[dendroclimatology|tree ring data]] and a study of European climate in the last 200 years based upon temperature records. It is a participant in MEDALUS — the [[Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use project]]. The ultimate custodians of the raw data are the national meteorological services that originated the data; CRU retains most but not all of the raw data, which continues to be held by the originating services. It published a quarterly journal, ''Climate Monitor''. This ceased publication in 1998, being replaced by an online version, ''Climate Monitor Online''. The CRU collates data from many sources around the world. Its director, [[Phil Jones (climatologist)|Phil Jones]], told the science journal ''[[Nature (journal)|Nature]]'' in 2009 that he was working to make the data publicly available with the agreement of its owners but this was expected to take some months, and objections were anticipated from national meteorological services that made money from selling the data. It was not free to share that data without the permission of its owners because of confidentiality agreements, including with institutions in Spain, Germany, Bahrain and Norway, that restricted the data to academic use. In some cases the agreements were made orally, and some of the written agreements had been lost during a move. Despite this, the CRU has been the focus of attention by [[climate change sceptics]] who have made numerous requests under the [[Freedom of Information Act 2000|Freedom of Information Act]] for data used by the unit's scientists. ''Nature'' reported that in the course of five days in July 2009 the CRU had been "inundated" with 58 FOI requests from [[Stephen McIntyre]] and people affiliated with his blog [[Climate Audit]] requesting access to raw climate data or information about their use. == E-mail controversy == {{Main|Climatic Research Unit email controversy}} In November 2009, [[Hacker (computer security)|hackers]] gained access to a server used by the CRU and stole a large quantity of data, anonymously posting online more than 1,000 emails and more than 2,000 other documents. Some climate change sceptics and bloggers asserted that a number of the leaked e-mails contain evidence that scientists had [[Conspiracy (civil)|conspired]] to manipulate data and to keep scientists who have contrary views out of peer-review literature. The controversy was also known as "Climategate". All these accusations were denied by CRU spokepersons, and the CRU's researchers stated that the e-mails had been taken out of context and merely reflect an honest exchange of ideas. In 2011, a new analysis of temperature data by an independent group, many of whom had stated publicly that they thought is was possible that the CRU had manipulated data, concluded that "these studies were done carefully and that potential biases identified by climate change sceptics did not seriously affect their conclusions." Six committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct. The Muir Russell report, however, stated, "We do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA." The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring as a result of [[Human impact on the environment|human activity]] remained unchanged by the end of the investigations. == See also == * [[HadCRUT]] * [[EdGCM]] * [[NASA]] [[Goddard Institute for Space Studies]] * [[NCAR]] [[Community Climate System Model]] * [[NOAA]] [[GFDL CM2.X]] * [[Earth Simulator]] ==External links== * [http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/ Climatic Research Unit] {{University of East Anglia}} {{coord missing|Norfolk}}