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UK Met Office to publish climate records

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Met Office to release climate data
  • UK weather service to publish data it uses to analyze climate
  • Met Office will make information from over 1000 weather stations available online
  • Publication follows controversy from leaked emails from separate UK research center

London, England (CNN) -- The UK's weather service, the Met Office is to publish station temperature records that make up the global land surface temperature record.

Professor John Mitchell, director of climate science at the Met Office told CNN: "We are releasing the data to reassure people that climate data is sound."

The data includes information from more than 1000 stations worldwide and will be published online next week.

The Met Office said it was publishing a subset of the full HadCRUT record of global temperatures -- that's one of a handful of global temperature data sets that underpin the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The announcement comes amid a continuing controversy over leaked emails from the UK's University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) which were published on the Internet in November.

The emails were seized upon by climate skeptics who say they prove scientists are manipulating global warming data to strengthen the argument for man-made climate change.

But Professor Mitchell told CNN that he didn't see "any issue whatsoever with the soundness of global mean temperature records.

"If you look at the land data, the sea surface data temperatures and mean air temperature data, those three records independently show a 0.7 degree warming trend over the past 100 years. That's all published by the IPCC."

Professor Mitchell urged people who had become skeptical since the publication of the CRU emails to look at the evidence rather than "a selective take on emails which were stolen."

Mitchell added: "We also know that NASA have data sets that show pretty much the same trend over the past 100 years and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) also have a data set -- which, I think, is all freely available."

In a separate statement Saturday, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on people to concentrate on securing a deal at the upcoming climate talks.

Brown told the UK's The Guardian newspaper: "With only days to go before Copenhagen we mustn't be distracted by the behind the times anti-science, flat earth climate skeptics. We know the science. We know what we must do. We must act and close the five billion ton gap. That will seal the deal."

The Met Office said that by releasing the data it was continuing a policy of putting as many station temperature records as possible into the public domain. The office says it's confident that the data will show that global average land temperatures have risen over the past 150 years.

The announcement came on the same day that thousands of people attended a march in London, UK to demand action on climate change ahead of the 12-day U.N. climate conference that begins on Monday in Copenhagen.

The Wave protest was organized by Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of environmental and development organizations.

Director of Stop Climate Chaos Ashok Sinha told CNN: "Industrialized countries are not setting ambitious enough targets for carbon reduction.

"If you look at the level the UK is talking about, it amounts to a reduction of 30 percent by 2020. If we did that, we'd still only have a 50-50 chance at best of keeping global climate change under the dangerous threshold of two degrees Celsius."

Sinha said that many scientists are indicating that emissions need to be cut by around 40 percent and he urged the UK government to show leadership in cutting carbon emissions.