People around the world will experience the warmest year on record in 2007, it has been predicted.
Climate change experts say global temperatures are expected to be 0.54C above the long-term average of 14C.
There is a 60% probability that 2007 will be as warm or warmer than the current warmest year, they said.
That was 1998, when temperatures were 0.52C above the long-term average.
The forecast comes from the Met Office, which joins forces with the University of East Anglia each January to issue predictions for the global surface temperature for the coming year.
It takes into account known contributing factors, such as weather system El Nino and concentrations of greenhouse gases.
Kate 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 forecast follows news that 2006 was the warmest year on record across the UK.
During the year there was an average temperature of 9.7C, which was 1.1C above the long-term average.
Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, said the prediction showed the need for urgent action on climate change.
He said: “This has to be the year we face up to the need for action, not just well-meaning words and impressive-sounding targets.
“The big test will be whether the Government reverses the cuts in green taxes that have taken place every year since 1999 and begins to use the tax system to help us change our behaviour.”
[tags]glaobal warming [/tags]