2016 could be among the warmest years on record, according to the Met Office annual global temperature forecast.
The mean temperature for the coming 12 months could be close to one degree Centigrade above the average of 14.0 °C calculated between 1961 and 1990.
Taken from long-term data, a global mean of between 0.72 °C and 0.96 °C above the long-term average of 14.0 °C is expected.
Professor Chris Folland, research fellow at the Met Office, said: “2015 is on track to be the warmest year on record, and this forecast suggests 2016 is likely to be at least as warm, if not warmer.”
The predictions take into account man-made global warming, combined with a smaller effect from El Niño from unusually warm waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
The fact that 2014, 2015 and 2016 are all likely to be amongst the warmest years on record is also consistent with earlier Met Office research.
Professor Adam Scaife, head of long-range prediction at the Met Office, said: “This forecast suggests that by the end of 2016 we will have seen three record, or near-record years in a row for global temperatures.”
The Met Office have stated that while it doesn’t expect this run of back-to-back records continue indefinitely, the current situation shows how global warming can combine with smaller, natural fluctuations to push our climate to levels of warmth which are unprecedented in the data records.