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Planet Earth

Climate Researchers Manipulated and Hid Data

Phil Jones, Univ. of East Anglia professor

Professor Phil Jones asked a colleague to delete e-mails relating to a report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Climate-gate has struck again: A new investigation reveals crucial flaws in data about climate change, as well as attempts by leading researchers to cover up their own mistakes. 

The study by London paper The Guardian relies upon e-mails leaked by hackers from the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit (CRU). The paper found serious flaws in measurements from Chinese weather stations, noting that documents from them could not be produced. 

The leaked e-mails revealed that those monitoring stations were moved several times, meaning data from them may be unreliable. This data was key evidence behind the claim that the growth of cities (which are warmer than countryside) isn't a factor in global warming and was cited by the U.N.'s embattled climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to bolster statements about rapid global warming in recent decades.

Worse, adds The Guardian, CRU chief scientist Phil Jones withheld information requested under freedom of information laws. Subsequently a senior colleague told him he feared that Jones's collaborator, Wei-Chyung Wang of the University at Albany-SUNY, had "screwed up," adds the paper. 

The story points out that of 105 freedom of information requests to the university concerning the climatic research unit (CRU), which Jones headed up to the end of December, only 10 had been released in full.

Revelations on the inadequacies of this global warming data do not undermine the case that humans are causing climate change, and other studies have produced similar findings. But they do call into question the probity of some climate-change science and are certainly embarrassing for Jones.

The apparent attempts to cover up problems with temperature data from the Chinese weather stations provide the first link between the e-mail scandal and the U.N.'s embattled climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as a paper based on the measurements was used to bolster IPCC statements about rapid global warming in recent decades, explains The Guardian.

For more on this story, read the full investigation on The Guardian.