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A key piece of evidence in climate change science was slammed as “exaggerated” on Wednesday by the UK’s leading statistician, in a vindication of claims that global warming sceptics have been making for years.
Professor David Hand, president of the Royal Statistical Society, said that a graph shaped like an ice hockey stick that has been used to represent the recent rise in global temperatures had been compiled using “inappropriate” methods.
“It (the hockey stick report) used a particular statistical technique that exaggerated the effect [of recent warming],” he said.
“It is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians,” the report concluded.
He accused sceptics of “identifying a few particular issues and blowing them up” to distort the true picture. The handful of errors found so far, including the exaggerated hockey stick graph and a mistaken claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035, were “isolated incidents”, he said. “If you look at any area of science, you would be able to find odd examples like this.