NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 1, 2009

Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of impending global warming are based, says the Times.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected.  The revised figures were kept, but the originals -- stored on paper and magnetic tape -- were dumped to save space when the UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) moved to a new building, say the Times:

  • It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.
  • The CRU was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.
  • The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU's director; in them he discusses thwarting climate skeptics seeking access to such data.
  • The lost material was used to build the databases that show how the world has warmed by 0.8C over the past 157 years.

Dr. Jones and his colleagues say this temperature rise is "unequivocally" linked to greenhouse gas emissions generated by humans.  Their findings are one of the main pieces of evidence used by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which says global warming is a threat to humanity.

The CRU is the world's leading center for reconstructing past climate and temperatures.  Climate change skeptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled.  "That is now impossible," says the Times.

Source: Jonathan Leake, "Climate Change Data Dumped," The Times, November 29, 2009.

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