12 Dec 2009

Earth's warmest year ever next year - UK forecast

9:52 pm on 12 December 2009

Next year is expected to be the Earth's warmest year on record. That's the prediction of British meteorologists who say that a combination of man-made global warming and the impact of El Nino will drive temperatures to a new high.

In research presented at the climate-change talks in Copenhagen, the UK Met Office forecasters predict that the annual centigrade figure for 2010 will be 14.58 - 0.58 above the long-term average of 14, the BBC reports.

They say the combination of climate change and a moderate warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean are set to drive up temperatures next year.

The current record, 14.52, was set in 1998.

"The latest forecast from our climate scientists shows the global temperature is forecast to be almost 0.6C above the 1961-90 long-term average," a Met Office statement said.

"This means that it is more likely than not 2010 will be the warmest in the instrumental record that dates back to 1860."

However, it added: "A record warm year in 2010 is not a certainty, especially if the current El Nino was to unexpectedly decline rapidly near the start of 2010, or if there was a large volcanic eruption."

The Met Office, in collaboration with the University of East Anglia, maintains one of the three global temperature records that is used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.