Official: next year will be the hottest since records began
Sunday 29 December 2002
The coming year is likely to be the hottest since records began, senior meteorologists have told ministers.
A report to the Government by the Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre – the world's leading authority on predicting the climate – concludes that 2003 is likely to be as warm or warmer worldwide than 1998, the hottest year to date, as global warming increasingly takes hold.
Next year is also expected to witness the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to combat climate change, coming into effect – and the prediction will increase pressure on governments to act.
The report by two Met Office scientists – Chris Folland and Andrew Colman – is the result of a sophisticated new prediction system developed by the Hadley Centre. It correctly predicted a year ago that 2002 would be the second hottest year ever, after 1998.
The report says that the most important determining factors of worldwide temperatures are global warming, in the long term, and the El Niño weather phenomenon, on a year-by-year timescale.
Dr Folland explained that it was a particularly strong El Niño that made 1998 so warm, raising global temperatures by 0.2 degrees centigrade.
Global warming adds 0.02 degrees centigrade to worldwide average temperatures every year, he adds, and so the five years after 1998 will have raised temperatures in themselves by 0.1 degrees centigrade, making up half the effect of that year's El Niño.
Another weaker El Niño has begun and it is expected to raise temperatures by about 0.1 degrees centigrade in 2003, causing it to equal 1998.
The scientists say: "The best estimate forecast is for a year equal in temperature to the warmest year on record." They add that it could well be even warmer.
The scientists estimate that there is only one chance in five that 2003 will be cooler than 2002. The hottest 15 years on record have all occurred since 1980 and the three warmest have been in the last five years.
Three-quarters of extremely hot days influenced by man-made global warming, scientists say
Britain's bluebells now face a fight for their very survival
Lynx to be reintroduced into wild in Britain after a 1,300-year absence
Have you heard 'the hum'? Mystery of Earth's low droning noise could now be solved
Animal Extinction - the greatest threat to mankind
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 Stephen Hawking endorses Labour in the General Election
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...