Britain's top statistician absolved U.K. scientists following the climate-data scandal -- and blasted U.S. researcher Michael Mann for exaggerating the size of global warming.  

An inquiry by a panel of scientists into the behavior and methodologies of researchers at Britain's East Anglia University found Britain's climatologists scatterbrained and sloppy, but ultimately innocent of intentionally skewing climate data. But one of the top scientists selected for the panel slammed the methodologies used by Penn State climatologist Michael Mann to devise his infamous "Hockey Stick."

Geology professor Mann's 1998 climate study, which showed a sharp increase in the world's temperatures in the past century, was seen by many as proof that climate change was rapidly occurring and that humans played a significant role in the change. And despite ongoing criticism, the study formed the backbone of global warming theories.

Professor David Hand, president of the Royal Statistical Society, told the Telegraph that Mann's research would have shown less dramatic results if more reliable techniques had been used to analyze the data.

"The particular technique they used exaggerated the size of the blade at the end of the hockey stick. Had they used an appropriate technique the size of the blade of the hockey stick would have been smaller," he said. "The change in temperature is not as great over the 20th century compared to the past as suggested by the Mann paper."

The panel, chosen by Britain's Royal Society, slammed the glaring absence of statistics in climate research as well.

"It is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians," the report concluded.

Following Internet release of e-mails stolen from British university East Anglia's climate study group, Mann's colleagues at Penn State launched a probe into his work -- an investigation that came under severe attack by critics who argued that the university failed to interview any hostile witnesses, failed to examine the methodology that was at the heart of the controversy and was more concerned that the millions of dollars in grant money it gets by having Mann on the faculty could be jeopardized by adverse findings.

"It was set up to be a total whitewash, and the panel made no effort to investigate," said Steven Milloy, publisher of Junk Science, a Web site that casts doubt on global-warming research. "They didn't even interview the recipients of the e-mails. It is ridiculous," he told

The Inspector general at the National Science Foundation, the primary funder of the research into global warming, plans to continue the investigation, and will ultimately determine whether Penn State's investigation was adequate.

Read more at the Telegraph