CRU building

Our Vision

The aim of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) is to improve scientific understanding of the climate system and its interactions with society.

Our research is directed towards answering these key questions:

•    How and why does our climate change – past, present and future – and what are the implications?
•    How can we quantify, reduce and communicate the uncertainty in the climate information that is developed for society?

Our expertise allows us to take multiple approaches needed to address the above key questions:

•    Learning from the palaeoclimate record. We use the context of the past on different timescales, and in different regions, to better understand how the climate system behaves and the range of natural climate variability that has occurred. We apply these insights from the past to provide better context for current and future change.
•    Development and analysis of instrumental observations. Our datasets are used world-wide for monitoring climate change, understanding processes and evaluating climate models.  
•    Understanding atmosphere, ocean and ice interactions. We research how these critical feedbacks affect the Earth system, climate variability and climate change.
•    Better understanding of climate dynamics and climate model performance. We make better climate predictions by quantifying and reducing uncertainty in modelled climate change processes. 
•    Providing a robust foundation for climate services and developing decision support tools. We combine observations and models with statistical tools to provide climate change information. We enable the assessment of diverse climate impacts across multiple scales and sectors, especially in the area of climate extremes.

Alongside its research activities, CRU has an educational role through its contribution to teaching within the School of Environmental Sciences (most notably, the MSc in Climate Change) and through its training of postgraduate research students. We are regarded as an authoritative source of information on climate change by the media and by decision makers in the public and business arenas.

About the Climatic Research Unit


CRU is widely recognised as one of the world's leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change.

Consisting of a staff of around fifteen research scientists and students, CRU has developed a number of the data sets widely used in climate research, including the global temperature record used to monitor the state of the climate system, as well as statistical software packages and climate models.

CRU undertakes both pure and applied research, sponsored by contracts and grants from academic funding councils, government departments, intergovernmental agencies, charitable foundations, non-governmental organisations, commerce and industry.

The staff of CRU have an enviable publication record, contributing to both peer-review and popular journals as well as editing various newsletters and bulletins.

CRU is part of the School of Environmental Sciences with close links to other research groups within the department such as the Tyndall Centre. CRU undertakes collaborative research with institutes throughout the world on a diverse range of topics and coordinates or contributes to a number of networking activities.