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Gore admits climate figures 'ballpark'

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Addressing Global Climate Change: The Road to Copenhagen on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 28, 2009. UPI/Yuri Gripas
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on "Addressing Global Climate Change: The Road to Copenhagen" on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 28, 2009. UPI/Yuri Gripas | License Photo

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has admitted that alarming figures on Arctic icemelt he cited in Copenhagen, Denmark, were only "ballpark."

Gore, speaking at the U.N. summit on climate change, told attendees that "fresh" estimates by Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School in California indicated "that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years," The Times of London reported.

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But Maslowski challenged that characterization, reportedly saying, "It's unclear to me how this figure was arrived at. I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this."

The newspaper said Gore's office later admitted that the "75 percent" figure was one used by Maslowksi as a "ballpark figure" several years ago in a conversation with the former vice president.

The Times said the embarrassing incident has added to a controversy over alleged manipulation of global warming scientific findings. It joins the case of the intercepted e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, which some say appear to show scientists had manipulated research data to strengthen arguments that human activities were causing global warming.

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