Addressing global warming has been identified as a national, EU and international research priority. Significant capacity is therefore required in the area of environmental research, particularly climate change and climate change impacts, in order to continue to meet Ireland’s international obligations to the United Nations and European Union.
Established in 2001 at NUI Maynooth, the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units (ICARUS) is a leading centre for climate change research in Ireland. Its mission is to become a research centre of excellence and to integrate research into graduate and undergraduate teaching programmes on climate change. Having received over €5.8 million in research grants, output from the unit provides an important basis for local and national government policy formulation and for fulfilling Ireland’s climate change obligations.
ICARUS produces numerous reports on behalf of public bodies and published the first regional climate driven set of impact scenarios for Ireland in 2003. It is involved in the delivery of future climate impact assessments across a range of sectors such as the maritime and inland waterways heritage, tourism, construction, agricultural pests and diseases, health, fish survival rates, water availability, soil erosion, energy demand and biodiversity.
The Units have actively contributed to such policy initiatives as the Department of the Environment’s Progress Report on the National Climate Change Strategy (2002) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Third National Report (2006) as well as the Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study and various Local Authority planning guidelines and city development plans. Its researchers have submitted insights to over 40 scientific research publications and have acted as reviewers for many national and international reports and journals.
ICARUS has participated on the world stage through the Irish delegation reporting to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and as Irish representatives/negotiators at international climate meetings, namely at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and World Climate Conference. Output from the Units was referenced in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report and it was co-organiser of the first IPCC meeting to be held in Ireland. It also provides expertise to a number of national and international bodies such as the Irish Committee for Climate Change, the European Association of Scientific Academies and COST – European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research – run by the European Science Foundation.
All of the five major research programmes relating to climate change in Ireland, in which ICARUS were the lead investigators, were undertaken in collaboration with a multidisciplinary and inter-institutional network of researchers (from UCD, TCD, NUIG, Teagasc, the Marine Institute and OPW). ICARUS is currently spearheading an initiative to form a national alliance on climate change which includes a range of departments from NUI Maynooth (Geography, Experimental Physics, Mathematics), the aforementioned Higher Education Institutions in addition to UCC, UU and DIT, the semi-state sector bodies above, the civil service (Met Éireann) and the Irish Centre for High End Computing.
Visit the ICARUS website.