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"After" Copenhagen
Climate Change News

Weather forecasts will get better
25 Feb 2010

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The Westcountry based Met Office has secured a momentous agreement from weather groups around the world to change the way they gather climate change information to ward off criticism from sceptics over recent data scandals.

It is also planning to re-examine more than 150 years of temperature data in a bid to regain public trust in climate science following reports about alleged errors and suppression of data.


The latest move by the under-fire Met Office, which has faced criticism after predicting a mild winter, hard on the heels of forecasts for a "barbecue summer" that never was, hopes to regain public trust in climate change research.

The Exeter-based weather centre says the re-analysis, which was approved at a conference in Turkey earlier this week, is timely and it does not expect it to reach a hugely different conclusion about the impact of global warming.

However, the reassessment by an international group of experts could raise questions over its previous reports which became embroiled in controversy because of the Met Office's association with the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, which has been at the centre of the data storm.

A Met Office spokesman said: "This effort will ensure that the data-sets are completely robust and that all methods are transparent."

It added that "any such analysis does not undermine the existing independent data-sets that all reflect a warming trend."

The Met organisation is spearheading the move to clean up the science which monitors global warming, by calling for its international counterparts to take on the "grand challenge" of measuring land surface temperatures as often as several times a day, and allow independent scrutiny of the data, making it more transparent.

It comes after the climate change movement became embroiled in a barrage of criticism over claims that scientists tried to cover up historical data which did not fit in with theories that the world is getting consistently warmer.

The latest move to measure land surface would go some way towards answering demands by sceptics for access to the raw figures used to predict climate change.

Last night, MEP Giles Chichester, who has been among critics of the Met Office, said: "It all sounds a bit like closing ranks against the sceptics, but if it leads to better science, then I have to welcome it."

The proposal was approved in principle by some 150 delegates meeting under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation in Antalya, Turkey. It comes after e-mails stolen from a British university and several mistakes made in a 2007 report issued by the UN-affiliated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prompted public debate over the reliability of climate change predictions.

Sceptics claim scientists have secretly manipulated climate data and suppressed contrary views – allegations that have been denied by researchers and the climate change panel.

But the Met Office said current measurements were "fundamentally ill-conditioned to answer 21st century questions such as how extremes are changing and therefore what adaptation and mitigation decisions should be taken."

Earlier this month, the Met Office's own Professor John Mitchell found himself in the spotlight after he approved a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which failed to take into account a "Medieval warm period", in about 1000AD, when some believe the Earth's temperatures equalled those of today.

But the Met Office insisted the issues had been properly handled, and said Prof Mitchell's role was to co-ordinate the compilation of the report.


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Source: This Cornwall