Page last updated at 19:15 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

UEA e-mails leak climate scientist defends his work

Professor Phil Jones
Professor Phil Jones has stepped down as director of the CRU

The scientist at the centre of a row over climate change research has defended himself against claims that he manipulated data.

Professor Phil Jones, former director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA), said his results "stand up to scrutiny".

Sceptics claim the e-mails, leaked after a UEA server was hacked into, showed data was being manipulated.

Prof Jones also disputed claims he had withheld data from a climate sceptic.

He said his 20-year-old study being questioned by sceptics had been corroborated by more recent research.

The research centre at the Norwich-based university has been under fire from climate sceptics since e-mails written over 13 years were accessed from UEA servers and posted online in November, in the run-up to the UN climate talks in Copenhagen.

I feel tremendously pressurised by all this but I'm trying to continue my work in the science
Phil Jones

The Guardian newspaper has claimed Professor Jones withheld information from sceptic Douglas Keenan, who queried data from Chinese weather stations used in a 1990 study on global warming.

Professor Jones, who continues to work at the Climatic Research Unit but has stood down as director while an investigation is carried out, said UEA had responded fully to a freedom of information request from Mr Keenan, and had supplied the temperature data and the locations of the weather stations.

The paper also used records from Australia and what was then the USSR, over which no questions had ever been raised, he said.

He said that some of the Chinese sites may have moved to warmer or cooler places, and that it was the large scale average that was the key issue.

'Very serious'

He said he was "concerned" that the latest allegations, coming soon after errors were uncovered in a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), would undermine some aspects of climate science.

"I feel tremendously pressurised by all this but I'm trying to continue my work in the science," he said.

"I think it's very important and it's potentially very serious for the future of mankind in decades to come."

He added: "The work we do at the University of East Anglia is only a small part of (climate science), there's thousands of climate scientists around the world supporting our results.

"We are facing more and more public scrutiny, and any future work we do is going to have much greater scrutiny by our peers and by the public."

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