February 16, 2010

“˜Climategate’ Researcher Admits Mistakes

One of the primary researchers involved in the "ËœClimategate' affair has admitted that he had trouble "Ëœkeeping track' of the raw data that is crucial to the theory of climate change, DailyMail UK reported.

Professor Phil Jones has apparently refused Freedom of Information requests because colleagues say he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

He himself even admitted there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organizational skills and that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is "Ëœnot as good as it should be'.

However, that data is crucial to the famous "Ëœhockey stick graph' used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Jones admitted it was possible that the world was warmer in medieval times than it is now "“ suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

"For the past 15 years there has been no statistically significant warming," he said.

Skeptics will likely use the new information as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely caused by man-made carbon emissions.

Jones stepped down as director of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit after the leaking of emails that skeptics claim show scientists were manipulating data to make their case for global warming.

The raw data in question has been collected from hundreds of weather stations around the world and analyzed by Jones' unit. The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has used such data for years to bolster efforts to press governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Jones was accused of "Ëœscientific fraud' for allegedly deliberately suppressing information and refusing to share vital data with critics of his team's methods.

The material was used to produce the "Ëœhockey stick graph', which is relatively flat for centuries before rising steeply in recent decades.

The BBC's environmental analyst Roger Harrabin reported that colleagues of Professor Jones said his office is piled high with paper, fragments from over the years, tens of thousands of pieces of paper, and they suspect what happened was he took in the raw data to a central database and then let the pieces of paper go because he never realized that 20 years later he would be held to account over them.

Jones admitted the lack of organization in the system had contributed to his reluctance to share data with critics, but he denied he had cheated over the data or unfairly influenced the scientific process, and said he still believed recent temperature rises were predominantly man-made.

Jones admitted there was some truth in the charge that he lost track of data, but added they do have a trail of where the weather stations have come from but it's probably not as good as it should be.

"There's a continual updating of the dataset. Keeping track of everything is difficult. Some countries will do lots of checking on their data then issue improved data, so it can be very difficult. We have improved but we have to improve more," he said.

Jones said there were two periods in the past that experienced similar warming, from 1910 to 1940 and from 1975 to 1998, but he suggested they could be explained by natural phenomena whereas more recent warming could not.

He also admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no "Ëœstatistically significant' warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend.

He added that the debate over whether the world could have been even warmer than now during the medieval period, when there is evidence of high temperatures in northern countries, was far from over.

Climate skeptics believe that because of evidence of high temperatures in northern countries, there is strong evidence that the world was warmer between about 800 and 1300 AD than now. However, advocates of climate change have dismissed this as false or only applying to the northern part of the world.

Many skeptics of climate change said this was the first time a senior scientist working with the IPCC had admitted to the possibility that the Medieval Warming Period could have been global, and therefore the world could have been hotter then than it is now.

Harrabin said that despite the controversies, there still appeared to be no fundamental flaws in the majority scientific view that climate change was largely man-made.

"Professor Jones's excuses for his failure to share data were hollow as he had shared it with colleagues and mates," said Dr. Benny Pieser, director of the skeptical Global Warming Policy Foundation.


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