Climate change scientists at the centre of an ongoing row over man-made global warming have been criticised for being "naive" and "disorganised"
An independent inquiry said the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia was "ill prepared for being the focus of public attention" when sceptics began to question their figures on climate change.
As well as taking issue with the researchers' record keeping, the panel of experts said better statistical methods should have been used to interpret the "messy" data on world temperatures.
"We found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention," said Lord Oxburgh, an academic and former head of Shell, who conducted the inquiry.
However, there was no evidence of "deliberate scientific malpractice", meaning the conclusion that mankind is causing global warming is probably correct.
The independent panel said any exaggeration of the extent of global warming was made by other organisations, including public bodies and governments, that took the information produced by academics but failed to inform the public about the uncertainties.
Supporters of the scientists said the investigation upheld the science behind global warming and undermined the arguments of critics.
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