If you love basking in the sun then you’re in for a treat this year as 2007 is predicted to be the world’s hottest on record, according to weather experts.
The world’s 10 warmest years have all been within the last 12 years and this latest forecast is based on climate change and the release of heat from warmer oceans due to the El Nino effect.
The UK’s Met Office predicts that the average temperature across the world over the course of the 12-months, January to December, will be 0.54 degrees warmer than the long-term average of 14 degrees.
They also believe there is a 60 per cent probability that 2007 will be as warm as, or warmer than, 1998 – which was 0.52 degrees above average and the world’s hottest year since records began in 1850.
However, the news is not all good. “This new information represents another warning that climate change is happening around the world,” said Met Office scientist Katie Hopkins.
Scientists have repeatedly warned that the longer the world delays making the environmental changes needed, the greater the risks of more extreme weather, including droughts, bushfires and coastal flooding.
A recent World Meteorological Organisation report found that 2006 was likely to be the sixth hottest on record, marked by droughts in Spain and Portugal, heavy flooding in the Horn of Africa, record number of bushfires in the US and the warmest autumn in Europe.
This week, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology released its annual Climate Statement, which confirmed that Australia was getting warmer slightly faster than the global average. Australia’s hottest year by far was in 2005, when the average annual temperature soared to 1.06 degrees above normal.
US weird winter weather
Meanwhile, over in the US, most of the Midwest and East Coast has been basking in one of the warmest winters on record, with temperatures running 10 and 20 degrees higher than normal in many places. For the first time in almost 130 years there was no snow in New York City throughout November and New Jersey had its warmest December since records began.
The causes are thought to be El Nino, a cyclical warming trend now under way in the Pacific Ocean, which can lead to milder weather and the jet stream, the high-altitude air current that works like a barricade to hold back warm Southern air, which is running much farther north than usual over the East coast.
Cold blast in the Balearics
However, over in the Spanish Balearic islands, Majorca, Ibiza and Menorca have been experiencing the worst cold front of the winter. Heavy showers caused severe flooding in parts of Ibiza and gale force winds caused several accidents. Sea crossings were also hit by the weather and many sailings between the islands and the mainland had to be suspended. People were advised to stay away from the beaches, while home owners and tourists were advised to clear their balconies of any loose objects.