Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

This year 'in top five warmest'

By Roger Harrabin
Environment analyst, BBC News

Winter sun (Getty Images)
Some sources say this year could be the third warmest on record

This year will be one of the top five warmest years globally since records began 150 years ago, according to figures compiled by the Met Office.

The UK's weather service projects that, unless there is an exceptionally cold spell before the end of the year, temperatures will be up on last year.

Climate sceptics had pointed out that the temperature rise appeared to have stalled in the last decade or so.

That was caused in part by the Pacific La Nina current, which cools the Earth.

But the influence of La Nina declined in the spring and the Met Office project that, barring a very cold December, this year will be the fifth warmest on record.

Other sources say it could even be the third warmest.

The last ten years have been in the top 15 warmest on record. And this summer the UK enjoyed temperatures higher than the long-term average.

Although the Met Office was pilloried after forecasting a "barbecue summer", it was their rainfall forecast, not the projected temperatures, that was wrong.

Next year we will see the influence of the warming El Nino current, and the Met Office says there is a 50% chance that global temperatures will hit an all-time high.

Print Sponsor

Ice retreat creates new CO2 store
17 Nov 09 |  Science & Environment
Antarctic glacier 'thinning fast'
13 Aug 09 |  Science & Environment
Why has it been so wet?
23 Jul 07 |  Magazine
Winter 'second warmest on record'
27 Feb 07 |  Science & Environment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific