Government hopes new website will end climate change confusion
Transparency surrounding research into climate change could be improved by the launch of a new website today (September 16), claims the Government.
Recent controversy surrounding research carried out by the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit provoked headlines around the world.
Many of the stories picked up on allegations, which the scientists have since been cleared of, claiming they manipulated data to show climate change was definitely happening.
The new site aims to explain the science behind the headlines on climate change and has been launched by the Government's chief scientific adviser professor Sir John Beddington.
The website presents an overview of areas of study in climate change and Sir John hopes it will end 'uncertainty' around the subject.
The new Climate Science site is due to go live at noon today and can be founds at www.bis.gov.uk/go-science/climatescience.
Sir John said: "Reporting on climate change science has often created more heat than light.
"The evidence is compelling that climate change is happening, that human activities are the major driver for this and that the future risks are substantial.
"At the same time, there is much we need to understand better; for example, the pace and extent of the changes we can expect, and regional impacts.
"The fact that uncertainty exists in climate science, as it does in other fields, does not detract from the value of the evidence. But an appreciation of the nature and degree of uncertainty, and of the likelihood and potential severity of risks, is critical if the science is to properly inform decision-making."
The online resource, which will be hosted in a new section of the Government Office for Science website, explains the scientific issues, evidence and principles behind key points, such as that:
human activities, in particular burning fossil fuels and land use changes, release CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere;
greenhouse gases trap heat radiated by the Earth, which warms the Earth's surface and the atmosphere;
CO2 levels are now over a third higher than they were before the industrial revolution, and continuing to rise fast. The level now reached is the highest seen for at least 800,000 years;
several independent analyses show global average temperatures to be rising;
many other observations, such as Arctic summer sea ice extent, confirm the long term warming trend. Since the 1970s, when satellite records began, the late summer minimum in Arctic sea ice has decreased by about 10% each decade.