Met Office head faced 'Climategate' threats

The head of the Met Office has said that he received death threats from climate-change sceptics. John Hirst, chief executive of the organisation, said the threats were made after the "Climategate" data-fixing controversy and the much derided "barbecue summer" prediction made by the Met Office in 2009.

In a talk to climate scientists he spoke of the problems faced by the climate-change sceptic Johnny Ball, the former children's TV presenter, who said in February that he had been the subject of a hate campaign.

"I wrote to Johnny Ball because he had received death threats and it might not surprise you that I get some death threats as well," he told the audience at the University of Exeter. "So I wrote to him and said: 'I get death threats too, it's crazy'."

The Met Office confirmed that Mr Hirst had received death threats by email: "Last year, tensions were running high on both ends of the debate. These kinds of things are not widespread or endemic, but they are certainly not unusual."

The "isolated" threats were investigated by a Met Office security team and not reported to police.