British climate scientist steps down over leaked emails

December 2nd, 2009 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 2 (IANS) A top British climate scientist has stepped down as head of a research unit for the duration of an inquiry into allegations that he hid data to bolster the view that the world is warming up.
Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the prestigious University of East Anglia, took the step after emails from him were hacked into and publicised by climate change sceptics last week as alleged evidence of a scientific cover-up.

Emails between CRU scientists were published on websites run by climate sceptics, who believe climate change is a natural phenomenon and not caused by human activity, ahead of this month’s Copenhagen summit on climate change.

Seizing on the words ‘trick’ and ‘hiding the decline’ in one email from 1999, sceptics claimed the e-mails show that important data behind the climate change debate has been manipulated.

Jones said the e-mail was genuine but had been taken “completely out of context”.

He released a copy of the actual email which reads: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

He said: “The first thing to point out is that this refers to one diagram - not a scientific paper. The word ‘trick’ was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward.”

In another email from 2004 Jones said of two papers he regarded as flawed: “I can’t see either … being in the next report [of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC]. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri said: “People should be discreet … If someone was to say something like this in an IPCC authors’ meeting then there are others who would chew him up.”

Peter Liss, a specialist in interaction between the oceans and atmosphere at the University of East Anglea (UEA), will stand in as acting director of the CRU while the review is conducted, the university said Tuesday.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Environment |