(AP) -- Fighting back against climate skeptics, over 1,700 scientists in Britain have signed a statement defending the evidence that climate change is being caused by humans, Britain's weather office said Thursday.
It was the latest attempt to remind the world of the reality of global warming after a cache of leaked e-mails was seized upon by skeptics as proof of a scientific conspiracy to stifle or twist the data on climate change.
"We, members of the U.K. science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive," the statement posted to the Met Office Web site said.
"They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity."
E-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia and released to the Internet last month appeared to show top climate scientists discussing ways to shield data from public scrutiny and suppress others' work. Climate skeptics - those who deny that human activity is responsible for global warming - have seized on the correspondence as evidence that scientists have conspired to hide the facts.
Top officials in Britain and at the U.N. have acknowledged that the incident has damaged public perception of the science but say the facts are solid. Scientists have also been dismayed by the reaction to the e-mails, and several groups - including the American Association for the Advancement of Science - have released statements in support of the evidence behind man-made global warming.
Of the more than 1,700 signatories behind Thursday's statement, a Met Office spokeswoman said "a significant majority work directly in the climate science field." However she said she could not provide a detailed breakdown.
The spokeswoman said those scientists who didn't work directly in the climate science field were familiar with the impact of global warming on their respective disciplines. She spoke anonymously in line with department policy.
On the Net: Met Office: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/
©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Explore further: Huge tract of Australia in 'biggest ever drought'