The UK’s Met Office, in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, has forecast that 2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998.
The forecast expects the global temperature for 2007 to be 0.54 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average of 14.0 °C, and issues a 60% probability that 2007 will be as warm or warmer than 1998, the current warmest year on record (1998 was +0.52 °C above the long-term 1961-1990 average). The 95% confidence range of the global forecast is that the temperature will lie between 0.38 °C to 0.70 °C above normal.
Each January the Met Office 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 had a mean forecast error size of just 0.06 °C.
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.
Although 2006 was the sixth-warmest year on record globally according to the World Meteorological Organization (earlier post), the year was the warmest on record yet for the UK.
For the whole of the UK, 2006 had a mean temperature of 9.7 °C, 1.1 °C above the 1971-2000 long-term average and the highest in the series going back to 1914. Ranked warmest years for the UK going back to that date are:
- 2006 (9.73 °C)
- 2003 (9.51 °C)
- 2004 (9.48 °C)
- 2002 (9.48 °C)
- 2005 (9.46 °C)