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2016 expected to be one of the warmest years on record

The forecast is good news for sunbathers, but further highlights the issue of global warming
The forecast is good news for sunbathers, but further highlights the issue of global warming

Good news for sun worshipers, as a Met Office forecast predicts that 2016 will be one of the warmest years on record.

The global mean temperature for 2016 is expected to be between 0.72 °C and 0.96 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average of 14.0 °C, according to the Met Office annual global temperature forecast.

Professor Chris Folland, Met Office research fellow, 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.”

Man-made global warming, combined with the smaller effect of El Niño from unusually warm waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean feature within the forecast.

The forecast is based on the key drivers of global climate, but it doesn’t include random events, such as large volcanic eruptions - which can cause a temporary cooling effect.

The outlook for 2016 is warmer than the Met Office’s forecast for 2015, which had a range of 0.52 °C to 0.76 °C and a central estimate of 0.64 °C (using the 1961-1990 long-term average).

The forecast for 2016 - including the range of uncertainties - also places the coming year among the warmest on record.

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 doesn’t expect this run of back-to-back records continue indefinitely, but 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.


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