A report by the United Nations' expert panel on climate change, which is under fire for the sourcing of its information, has been defended by a New Zealand scientist who contributed.

A claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that global warming was melting glaciers in the European Alps, the Andes and Africa was based on a student dissertation and a climbing magazine article, not scientific journal papers, the London Sunday Telegraph said.

Among the report's contributors are at least 10 New Zealand scientists from top universities, as well as national climate centre Niwa.

One is ex-Niwa climate scientist Jim Salinger, who said that although there was an obvious "slip-up", he did not have a problem being associated with the report.

"Well, certainly there was obviously a slip-up in the review process. [But] I wasn't involved."

Dr Salinger defended the report, saying: "You'll find that a huge part of the volume is there and just because there's one or two slip-ups, that doesn't negate the whole of the article."

He said he still agreed with the paper, because evidence he had gathered and experienced people he had interviewed - including the late Sir Edmund Hillary - showed that much of the world's ice was now gone.

He said he had been among those involved in the chapter on Australia and New Zealand ice - the findings of which also seemed to back the overall statements in the report.

"We're down to about half of what we had in the 1900s - we've lost quite a bit [of ice] since we've been doing the ice and snow monitoring, when I was at Niwa, in the last 30 years."

This incident is the second embarrassment for the IPCC, which had to issue a humiliating apology last month over inaccurate statements about global warming.

The panel's remit is to provide an authoritative assessment of scientific evidence on climate change.

Its most recent report said observed reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps and Africa were being caused by global warming, erroneously citing two papers as the source.

Scientists from around the world insisted that despite the errors, the science in the report was sound.