Temperature records released to debunk climate change claims

The Met Office today released temperature records from more than 1,500 climate monitoring stations around the world in the latest efforts to debunk claims by sceptics that global warming data was manipulated by scientists.

The raw data comes from a network of individual stations which have been used by the World Meteorological Organisation to monitor global surface temperatures.

According to the Met Office, the records from the 1,500 sites show that temperatures have risen over the past 150 years.

The results from the monitoring centres released today is very similar to the complete set of data records from around 5,000 stations which the Met Office's Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) use to measure global land temperatures in the "HadCrut" record.

The data released today, a subset of the total from the 5,000 sites, is not a new global temperature record and does not replace the HadCrut record or other analyses from Nasa or the National Climatic Data Centre in the US.

The Met Office said it would release the data from the remaining station records when it had permission from those centres to do so.

And scientists said they would publish "as soon as possible" the specific computer code that aggregates the individual station temperatures into the global record.

The publication of the data comes in the wake of leaking of stolen emails taken from servers at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and posted on websites run by sceptics, possibly in a bid to undermine the global climate summit in Copenhagen.

The emails, which include a reference to a "trick" to "hide the decline", have been seized on by sceptics as evidence of scientists manipulating or suppressing data to back up a theory of man-made global warming.

Suggestions of a conspiracy to strengthen the evidence for man-made climate change have been dismissed by scientists and politicians as "nonsense" in the face of a broad scientific consensus that the world is warming largely as a result of human actions.

At the opening of the crunch UN climate talks in Copenhagen - where negotiators are aiming to agree a new deal on global warming - the head of the UN expert panel of climate scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said sceptics were trying to discredit the research.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri said: "The recent incident of stealing the emails of scientists at the University of East Anglia shows that some would go to the extent of carrying out illegal acts, perhaps in an attempt to discredit the IPCC."

The scientists at the centre of the row have said they stand by their research, while an independent review has been launched by the university.

The Commons Science and Technology Committee has asked for a letter from the University of East Anglia explaining the incident and what steps had been taken to restore confidence in the research unit.