(AP) -- A British university said Thursday it would investigate whether scientists at its prestigious Climatic Research Unit fudged data on global warming.
Thousands of pieces of correspondence were stolen from the unit at the University of East Anglia and leaked to the Internet late last month. The e-mails have been taken by skeptics of man-made global warming as proof that scientists have conspired to hide evidence showing that global warming was not as strong as generally believed.
Phil Jones, the director of the unit, stepped down Tuesday pending the result of the investigation.
The university had promised a probe Tuesday, but it didn't specify what the investigation would encompass. Thursday's announcement was the first acknowledgment that the data itself would be examined.
The university said in an e-mail statement that its review will examine the e-mails and other information "to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice."
The university said former civil servant Muir Russell would lead the inquiry. Russell said in the statement that he "has no links to either the university or the climate science community."
The university has asked that the review be completed by Spring 2010.
On the Net: Climatic Research Unit: http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/
©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Explore further: Recently discovered microbe is key player in climate change