Climatologists have long been aware of the poor state of global surface temperature records and considerable effort has been put into adjusting the raw data to correct known errors and biases.
These adjustments are not insignificant. For example it has been noted that in the temperature series prepared by NOAA for the USA, the adjusted data exhibits a much larger warming trend than the raw data.
It has also been noted that over the years changes to the data have often tended to cool the early part of the record and to warm more recent years, increasing the apparent warming trend.
Although the reasons for the adjustments that are made to the raw data are understood in broad terms, for many of the global temperature series the details are obscure and it has proved difficult for outsiders to determine whether they are valid and applied consistently.
For all these reasons, the global surface temperature records have been the subject of considerable and ongoing controversy.
In order to try to provide some clarity on the scientific issues, the Global Warming Policy Foundation has invited a panel of experts to investigate and report on these controversies.
The panel features experts in physics, climatology and statistics and will be chaired by Professor Terence Kealey, the former vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham.
Terms of reference
Detailed terms of reference for the panel have been published.
Submissions of evidence
With four major surface temperature series to consider, each incorporating several layers of adjustment, the scope of the inquiry is very wide. The panel is therefore seeking to benefit from the considerable expertise that already exists on the surface records and is inviting interested parties to submit evidence.
After review by the panel, all submissions will be published and can be examined and commented upon by anyone who is interested.
No timetable has been set for the panel to report.