Climate Research Center Receives More Than $3 Million from Japan Marine Science and Technology Center

Money will aid in basic research to determine causes of climate change and variations

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Gisela Speidel, (808) 956-9252
Public Relations Specialist
Posted: Dec 1, 2003

The International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa recently received over $3 million from the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC). JAMSTEC is one of two Japanese agencies that have generously supported climate research at the IPRC providing nearly $23 million since it began operations in 1997.

According to IPRC Director Julian McCreary, "The money will fund basic research to determine what causes climate to vary and to change. The general circulation models, which are the main tools for climate prediction and predictions of global warming, still have many uncertainties.

"The focus at the IPRC is to understand better how processes in the ocean, land, and atmosphere interact with each other to affect such long-term climate patterns as temperature, wind, storm frequency, storm tracks, and rainfall, and to develop improvements in global climate models so that the sensitivity of climate to increased greenhouse gasses can be predicted more accurately."

Research emphasis at the IPRC is on climate fluctuations and climate change in the Asia-Pacific region. "This part of the world is of great scientific significance for climate research, since the vast Pacific Ocean and Asian land mass influence world climate. The effects of El Niņo, for instance, are felt around the world," explains Shang-Ping Xie, professor of meteorology and IPRC co-leader of the Indo-Pacific Ocean Climate research team.

The IPRC research is geared to answer such questions as:

· What causes El Niņo and La Niņa conditions in the Pacific?

· Are there significant decadal climate shifts in the Pacific Ocean, and if so, what causes them and how do they affect marine life and fisheries?

· What is the source of variations in the Asian monsoon rains, which can have catastrophic effects on more than half the world‘s population through periodic droughts and floods?

· Can the processes causing such climate variations or change be forecasted in order to make predictions about climate or are they unpredictable?

The IPRC is an international research center, its researchers coming from all over the world. "Having colleagues from different countries is very exciting," says Tommy Jensen, an IPRC researcher from Denmark. "Science isn‘t entirely objective, and scientists from different cultural backgrounds bring different perspectives to a research project and to the interpretation of data. A new way of looking at things can result in breakthroughs."

For more information about the IPRC, visit

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