Scientists: 2007 Could Be Warmest Year Yet

British climate scientists are predicting that 2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998.

Each January the Met Office, in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, issues a forecast of the global surface temperature for the coming year. The forecast takes into account known contributing factors, such as solar effects, El Niño, greenhouse gases concentrations and other multi-decadal influences. Over the previous seven years, the Met Office forecast of annual global temperature has proved accurate, with a mean forecast error size of just 0.06 degrees Celsius, officials said.

Global temperature for 2007 is expected to be 0.54 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1961 to 1990) average of 14.0 degrees Celsius, the scientists said on Jan. 4. There is a 60 percent probability that 2007 will be as warm or warmer than the current warmest year (1998 was +0.52 degrees Celsius above the long-term 1961 to 1990 average).

The potential for a record 2007 arises partly from a moderate-strength El Niño already established in the Pacific, which is expected to persist through the first few months of 2007. The lag between El Niño and the full global surface temperature response means that the warming effect of El Niño is extended and therefore has a greater influence the global temperatures during the year.

Katie Hopkins from Met Office Consulting said: "This new information represents another warning that climate change is happening around the world. Our work in the climate change consultancy team applies Met Office research to help businesses mitigate against risk and adapt at a strategic level for success in the new environment."

The Met Office provides environmental and weather-related services. For additional information, contact the Met Office at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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