The head of the British research unit at the center of a controversy over the disclosure of thousands of e-mail messages among climate-change scientists has stepped down pending the outcome of an investigation.
Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England, said he would leave his post while the university conducted a review of the release of the e-mail messages. The university has called the release and publication of the messages a "criminal breach" of the school's computer systems.
The e-mail exchanges among several U.S. and British scientists appear to reveal efforts to keep the work of skeptical scientists out of major journals and the possible hoarding and manipulation of data to overstate the case for human-caused climate change.
Skeptics have seized upon the disclosures to call into question years of efforts to document changes to the climate and its causes. Republicans in Congress have begun an investigation into the work of the scientists who sent the messages and the scientific and policy decisions that may have flowed from them.