Public Release: 

Britain's top climatologist backs global warming claims

IOP Publishing

One of Britain's leading climate change experts has thrown his weight behind the claim that global warming is being caused by human activity in a report published today by the Institute of Physics.

The report by Professor Alan Thorpe, who takes up his post as chief of the Natural Environmental Research Council next month, aims to tackle sceptics who doubt the models scientists use to predict future climate change.

Professor Thorpe outlines the scientific basis for climate change and explains how the climate models actually predict future change. According to Thorpe, "uncertainty" is one of the key issues in predicting climate change but is an aspect of the research which is very poorly understood by the public and policy-makers.

In the report, Professor Thorpe says: "Science in crucial in determining government and international policy on climate change but only some of the views on this issue are actually supported by the scientific models".

"There is little doubt that a lack of knowledge about how climate change is predicted and the associated uncertainties are the main reason that there is so much ill-informed comment on climate change in the media and amoung the public".

The report, 'Climate Change Prediction: a challenging scientific problem' by Alan J. Thorpe, Professor of Meteorology at the University of Reading was published today by the Institute of Physics and is devoted to de-mystifying the prediction methodology, and focuses on the scientific basis of climate change prediction.

The Institute of Physics hopes that the paper will increase believability in climate models and persuade sceptics that human activity is likely to be causing global warming. The paper aims to convince policy-makers, the general public and the scientific community that the threats posed by global climate change are real.

A copy of the paper can be downloaded from: http://policy.iop.org/Policy/HE/index.html

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Notes to editors:

For further information or interviews contact: David Reid, Institute of Physics, on Mobile: (07946) 321473. The Institute of Physics is a leading international professional body and learned society with over 37,000 members, which promotes the advancement and dissemination of a knowledge of and education in the science of physics, pure and applied. It has a world-wide membership and is a major international player in:

  • scientific publishing and electronic dissemination of physics;
  • setting professional standards for physicists and awarding professional qualifications;
  • promoting physics through scientific conferences, education and science policy advice

    The Institute is a member of the Science Council, and a nominated body of the Engineering Council. The Institute works in collaboration with national physical societies and plays an important role in transnational societies such as the European Physical Society and represents British and Irish physicists in international organisations. In Great Britain and Ireland the Institute is active in providing support for physicists in all professions and careers, encouraging physics research and its applications, providing support for physics in schools, colleges and universities, influencing government and informing public debate.

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