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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007, 15:30 GMT
2007 data confirms warming trend

Man in fountain. Image: AP
In Spain's 2007 heatwave, people cooled off as best they could
This year has been one of the warmest since 1850, despite the cooling influence of La Nina conditions, according to scientists.

The UK's Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia conclude that globally, this year ranks as the seventh warmest.

The 11 warmest years in this set have all occurred within the last 13 years. For the northern hemisphere alone, 2007 was the second warmest recorded.

The findings come as the UN climate summit discusses carbon emission cuts.

The Hadley Centre's head of climate prediction, Vicky Pope, who is at the Bali talks, said the data "confirmed the need for swift action to combat further rises in global temperatures because of human behaviour."

The La Nina event has taken some of the heat out of what could have been an even warmer year
Phil Jones, UEA
The data was presented to Bali delegates by Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which has partially overseen the landmark assessment published during the year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"What we are seeing is a confirmation of the warming trend seen by the IPCC reports," he said.

Pacific heights

At the beginning of the year, the same group of scientists said 2007 was set to be the warmest on record.

"The year began with a weak El Nino... and global temperatures well above the long-term average," said Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

1998: 0.52C (above the 1961-1990 average)
2005: 0.48C
2003: 0.46C
2002: 0.46C
2004: 0.43C
2006: 0.42C
2007 (provisional): 0.41C
2001: 0.40C
1997: 0.36C
1995: 0.28C

"However, since the end of April, the La Nina event has taken some of the heat out of what could have been an even warmer year."

El Nino and La Nina represent opposite ends of a periodic and natural variation in climatic conditions across the Pacific.

El Nino events see above-average ocean temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific, while lower temperatures in the same regions are manifested during La Nina.

The 1998 El Nino event, one of the most powerful on record, was largely responsible for that year being the warmest documented since 1850, and warmer than any since.

The warmth of the years since 2000 is thought to be driving the thinning of Arctic sea-ice. Scientists forecast this week that the ice could melt entirely during summers by 2013.

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