By Jonathan Petre
The academic at the centre of the â€˜Climategateâ€™ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble â€˜keeping trackâ€™ of the information.
Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.
Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is â€˜not as good as it should beâ€™.
The data is crucial to the famous â€˜hockey stick graphâ€™ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.
Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now â€“ suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.
And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no â€˜statistically significantâ€™ warming.
The admissions will be seized on by sceptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made.
Professor Jones has been in the spotlight since he stepped down as director of the University of East Angliaâ€™s Climatic Research Unit after the leaking of emails that sceptics claim show scientists were manipulating data.