Archive of Press Releases Archive of Press Releases


CRU update 1

Mon, 23 Nov 2009

It is a matter of concern that data including personal information about individuals appears to have been illegally taken from the university and elements published selectively on a number of websites.

The volume of material published and its piecemeal nature makes it impossible to confirm what proportion is genuine. We took immediate action to remove the server in question from operation and have involved the police in what we consider to be a criminal investigation.

The material published relates to the work of our globally-respected Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and other scientists around the world. CRU's published research is and has always been fully peer-reviewed by the relevant journals and is one strand of research underpinning the strong consensus that human activity is affecting the world's climate in ways that are potentially dangerous.

CRU is one of a number of independent centres working in this important area and reaching similar conclusions. It will continue to engage fully in reasoned debate on its findings with individuals and groups that are willing to have their research and theories subjected to scrutiny by the international scientific community. The selective publication of some stolen emails and other papers taken out of context is mischievous and cannot be considered a genuine attempt to engage with this issue in a responsible way.

The raw climate data which has been requested belongs to meteorological services around the globe and restrictions are in place which means that we are not in a position to release them. We are asking each service for their consent for their data to be published in future.

In addition to supporting the police in their enquiries we will ourselves be conducting a review with external support into the circumstances surrounding the theft and publication of this information and any issues emerging from it.

Comment from Professor Phil Jones Director of the Climatic Research Unit:

The following email which I can confirm is genuine has caused a great deal of ill-informed comment but has been taken completely out of context and I want to put the record straight.

"I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline. Mike's series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999 while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct +is 0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998."
The first thing to point out is that this refers to one diagram - not a scientific paper - which was used in the World Meteorological Organisation's statement on the status of the global climate in 1999 (WMO-no.913).

The diagram consisted of three curves showing 50-year average temperature variations for the last 1000 years. Each curve referred to a scientific paper and a key gives their details.

Climate records consist of actual temperature records from the mid-19th century and proxy data (tree rings coral ice cores etc) which go back much further. The green curve on the diagram included proxy data up to 1960 but only actual temperatures from 1961 onwards. This is what is being discussed in the email.

The word 'trick' was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward.