This year is set to be the hottest on record both in Britain and around the world, with climate scientists pointing to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide as the most likely cause.
Records for January to October show that the global average air temperature over land and sea surface was about 0.57C above the average of 14C for the period between 1961 to 1990, and 0.09C above the average for the past 10 years, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
The global figures suggest that 2014 is set to become the hottest ever, beating the previous records of 2010, 2005 and 1998. Much of the extra warmth is being detected in the oceans, both at the surface and at deeper depths where the bulk of the extra heat is ending up.
Meanwhile the central England temperature record, which dates back to 1659 and is the longest set of instrumental records in the world, shows that 2014 is also set to be one of the warmest British years on record, according to the Met Office.
Every month of this year so far, except August, has seen above-average temperatures in the UK, and while no single month has set a new temperature record, the year as a whole has been consistently and unusually warm, the Met Office said.
In pictures: Changing climate around the world
In pictures: Changing climate around the world
Calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers are seen floating on the water in Qaqortoq, Greenland
Oroumieh, one of the biggest saltwater lakes on Earth, has shrunk more than 80 percent to 1,000 square kilometers in the past decade. It shrinks mainly because of climate change, expanded irrigation for surrounding farms and the damming of rivers that feed the body of water
A boat navigates among calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers in Qaqortoq, Greenland. Boats are a crucial mode of transportation in the country that has few roads. As cities like Miami, New York and other vulnerable spots around the world strategize about how to respond to climate change, many Greenlanders simply do what theyve always done: adapt. 'Were used to change, said Greenlander Pilu Neilsen. 'We learn to adapt to whatever comes. If all the glaciers melt, well just get more land
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is seen after being inaugurated in Longyearbyen, Norway. The 'doomsday' seed vault built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters opened deep within an Arctic mountain in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard
A technician preparing to drain a vast underground lake at the Tete Rousse glacier on the Mont Blanc Alpine mountain, to avert a potentially disatrous flood. Some 65,000 cubic metres (2.3 million cubic feet) of water have gathered in a cavity, dangerously raising the pressure beneath the mountain, a favourite spot for holiday makers in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
Cracked mud is picture at sunrise in the dried shores of Lake Gruyere affected by continuous drought near the western Switzerland village of Avry-devant-Pont. A leading climate scientist warned that Europe should take action over increasing drought and floods, stressing that some climate change trends were clear despite variations in predictions
Cattle graze on grassland that remains dry and brown at the height of the rainy season in south of Bakersfield, California. Its third straight year of unprecedented drought, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and dating back as far as 500 years, according to some scientists who study tree rings
An aerial view shows tents of flood-displaced people surrounded by water in southern Sehwan town. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres met with people displaced by last year's devastating floods. Catastrophic monsoon rains that swept through the country in 2010 and affected some 20 million people, destroyed 1.7 million homes and damaged 5.4 million acres of arable land
An aerial view of flooding in North Wagga Wagga. Climate change is amplifying risks from drought, floods, storm and rising seas, threatening all countries but small island states, poor nations and arid regions in particular, UN experts warned
Damages caused by a landslide on the Pan-American highway near La Moramulca, 55 Km south of Tegucigalpa. International highways have been washed out, villages isolated and thousands of families have lost homes and crops in a region that the United Nations has classified as one of the most affected by climate change
A resident sprays water on a peatland fire in Pekanbaru district in Riau province on Indonesia's Sumatra island. Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands, is one of the world's biggest carbon emitters because of rampant deforestation. US Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday issued a clarion call for nations to do to more to combat climate change, calling it 'the world's largest weapon of mass destruction'
An excavator clearing a peatland forest area for a palm oil plantations in Trumon subdistrict, Aceh province, on Indonesia's Sumatra island. As Southeast Asia's largest economy grows rapidly, swathes of biodiverse forests across the archipelago of 17,000 islands have been cleared to make way for paper and palm oil plantations, as well as for mining and agriculture. The destruction has ravaged biodiversity, placing animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers in danger of extinction, while also leading to the release of vast amounts of climate change-causing carbon dioxide
Stagnant rain water with tannery waste make the Hazaribagh area in Old Dhaka as well as Buriganga River the most polluted. Each year during the seven-month long dry season between October and April the Buriganga River becomes totally stagnant with its upstream region drying up and becoming polluted from toxic waste from city industries
Waste water from Dhaka city drained to the River Buriganga contributes to its pollutions. On the World Water Day observed in 2007 under the theme Coping with Water Scarcity, under the leadership of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, DrikNEWS explores some of the images of the river. UN-Water has identified coping with water scarcity as part of the strategic issues and priorities requiring joint UN action. The theme highlights the significance of cooperation and importance of an integrated approach to water resource management of water at international, national and local levels
Heavy smog has been lingering in northern and eastern parts of China, disturbing the traffic, worsening air pollution and forcing the closure of schools. China's Environment Ministry said it will send inspection teams to provinces and cities most seriously affected by smog to ensure rules on fighting air pollution are being enforced
Climate researchers will use the latest data to puncture the myth that global warming has stalled and will urge negotiators at the climate change negotiations in the Peruvian capital Lima to take note of what they see as incontrovertible evidence that the world is on path towards dangerous global warming.
“The provisional information for 2014 means that 14 out of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st Century. There is no standstill in global warming,” said Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the WMO.
“What we saw in 2014 is consistent with what we expect from a changing climate. Record-breaking heat combined with torrential rainfall and floods destroyed livelihoods and ruined lives,” Dr Jarraud said.
“What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface, including the northern hemisphere. Record-high greenhouse gas emissions and associated atmospheric concentrations are committing the planet to a much more uncertain and inhospitable future,” he said.
Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN convention on climate change, said: “Our climate is changing and every year the risks of extreme weather events and impacts on humanity rise.”
The global mean temperatures for January to October are based on worldwide instrument readings compiled by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia (UEA), known as the HadCRUT4 dataset. The Met Office said that the final value for the year will be very close to its central estimate of 0.57C for 2014, a forecast it made at the end of last year.
“Spatially, 2014 has so far been warmer than the 1961 to 1990 average almost everywhere, the main exception being central and eastern parts of North America. For Europe, many countries in northern and eastern parts will likely have had near-record warm years,” said Phil Jones, director of UEA’s Climatic Research Unit.
Average air temperatures taken over land for January to October were about 0.86C above the long-term average between 1961 and 1990, which is so far about fourth or fifth warmest on record for the same period.
However, the global sea-surface temperatures were the highest on record, at about 0.45C above the long-term average. Also, the ocean heat estimated at depths of 700 metres and 2000 metres for January to June were also the highest recorded, according to the WMO.
“Around 93 per cent of the excess energy trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and the other human activities ends up in the oceans. Therefore, the heat content of the oceans is key to understanding the climate system,” the WMO said.
The Met Office emphasised that one warm year has to be looked at in the context of longer-term trends of several decades. However, new techniques allow scientists at the Met Office to gauge the role of human activity in the changes of breaking temperature records, according to Peter Stott, head of climate attribution at the Met Office.
“Our research shows current global average temperatures are highly unlikely in a world without human influence on the climate. Human influence has also made breaking the current UK temperature record about 10 times more likely,” Dr Stott said.
Colin Morice, a climate monitoring scientist at the Met Office, said: “Record or near-record years are interesting, but the ranking of individual years should be treated with some caution because of the uncertainties in the data are larger than the differences between the top-ranked years. We can say this year will add to the set of near-record temperatures we have seen over the last decade.”Reuse content