There are now admissions from Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, that his “data” may be lost.

But what did this “data” actually consist of, anyway?

The only temperature measurements made at weather stations — until recently when some became “automatic” — were taken only once a day. Usually all the stations measure are the maximum and the minimum temperatures.

But the time of day that this is done is not standardized. And the maximum usually refers to a different calendar day from the minimum.

These two figures are then averaged and called the “mean daily temperature.”

It is this quantity that gets subjected to further multiple averaging to arrive at monthly and annual figures. Eventually a “global” chart is produced, purporting to show temperature “trends.”

So all of this is built on a foundation of sand.

If you would like to measure the average height of a group of schoolchildren, it is not much use measuring only the tallest and the shortest. Quite obviously, you will not get a fair average from these two measurements.

Weather forecasters all know that the maximum/minimum average is inaccurate and they avoid using it, preferring to mention the separate figures. They also know that decimals of a degree are meaningless.

Yet we have been persuaded to change our lives, the entire developed world, because a system built on such a dubious foundation shows a “warming” estimated only in decimals of a degree over an entire century.

An amount you would never notice if such a change happened in one moment, nevermind one hundred years.