Climate expert admits loss of crucial weather data was ‘not acceptable’

February 16th, 2010 - 3:08 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 16 (ANI): The climate expert at the centre of a media storm over the release of emails onto the Internet has admitted that he did not follow correct procedures over a key scientific paper, and as a result lost crucial weather data.

According to a report in the Guardian, the climate expert in question is Phil Jones, head of the Climate Research Unit at the University East Anglia.

Hacked emails suggest he helped to cover up flaws in temperature data from China that underpinned his research on the strength of recent global warming.

In a recent interview, Jones admitted it was “not acceptable” that records underpinning a 1990 global warming study have been lost.

The missing records make it impossible to verify claims that rural weather stations in developing China were not significantly moved, as it states in the 1990 paper, which was published in Nature.

“It’s not acceptable … (it’s) not best practice,” Jones said.

He acknowledged that the stations “probably did move”, but insisted he did not know this when he wrote the 1990 paper.

“I thought it was the right way to get the data. I was specifically trying to get more rural station data that wasn’t routinely available in real time from (meteorological) services,” he said.

He said he would consider submitting a correction to the journal.

“I will give that some thought. It’s worthy of consideration,” he said.

Jones, who told the Sunday Times that he had considered suicide over the controversy caused by the release of the emails, said he could not comment on allegations that the university mishandled requests for his data under Freedom of Information laws.

But he denied that he had unfairly tried to hijack the peer review process, as suggested by critics who point to an email in which he wrote, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report.”

According to Jones, “the science still holds up”.

A subsequent study confirmed the original conclusion - that the global warming trend was not significantly affected by urbanisation - and showed that the precise location of the weather stations was not important.

Jones said that critics were “trying to pick out minor things in the data and blow them out of all proportion”. (ANI)

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