4 Dec 2014

World on course for warmest year

10:55 am on 4 December 2014

The United Nations weather agency warns that the world is on course for the warmest year since records began.

Global warming

Photo: AFP

In the first 10 months of 2014, global average air temperature was about 0.57 degrees above the long-term average, the BBC reported.

The global figures come in estimates from the UN's World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

If this year's current global trend continued for the next two months, the previous record years of 1998, 2005 and 2010 would be overtaken by a narrow margin.

The Secretary-General of the WMO, Michel Jarraud, said the preliminary data for 2014 was "consistent with what we expect from a changing climate."

In comments released with the new figures, he said:

"The provisional information for 2014 means that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century."

In unusually strong language, Mr Jarraud highlighted the impacts of the weather extremes.

"Record-breaking heat combined with torrential rainfall and floods destroyed livelihoods and ruined lives. What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface, including in the northern hemisphere."

And he asserted that the new figures confirmed the key trend in climate change: "There is no standstill in global warming."

This is a reference to the hotly-debated "pause" in global warming which has seen no major increases in temperature since 1998.

A separate study by the UK Met Office said the observed temperatures would be highly unlikely without the influence of greenhouse gases produced by humans.

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