2015 was easily the hottest year on record, figures confirm, with temperatures way above average

The world was 1C above the average pre-industrial temperature, meaning that it is halfway towards the critical 2C limit, and 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have been since 2001

Last year was easily the hottest year on record globally.

Temperatures have reached 1C above pre-industrial levels, according to new figures from the Met Office. That shows that the world is getting ever closer to the dangerous 2C limit, which countries have agreed to stay below.

In 2015, temperatrures were 0.75C above the long-term average for 1961 to 1990, already the warmest since records began in 1850. Last year was 1C above the average for 1850 to 1900.

Last year broke through the previous record, set by 2014, by 0.13C. Apart from 1998, 2015 was the only year that beat the previous record by such a huge number.

And last year's record is likely to be beaten by 2016's, with the Met Office predicting that the temperature will reach between 0.72C and 0.95C above the long-term average.

Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said: "2015 was a record-breaking year for our climate.

"Global mean temperatures reached 1C above pre-industrial levels for the first time and the year's average global temperature was the highest ever recorded."

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As well as the effects of climate change, temperatures are being disrupted by the El Nino phenomenon which has contributed towards strange and disruptive weather across the world.

Professor Phil Jones, from UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), said: "While there is a strong El Nino-elevated global temperature this year, it is clear that human influence is driving our climate into uncharted territory."

2015's global average temperature was at the top end of predictions for the year made in 2014, and broke the record set in the previous year, the data shows.

Predictions from the Met Office for 2016 have suggested this year will set a new record, with global average temperatures expected to be between 0.72C and 0.95C above the long-term average of 14C.

The dataset produced by the Met Office Hadley Centre and the CRU is based on thousands of temperature measurements taken around the world on land and at sea each day, and is one of three major analyses that are used to assess global temperatures.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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