GLOBAL temperatures next year will be at near-record highs, the Met Office has forecast.
The average global temperature in 2019 is expected to be around 1.10C above pre-industrial levels, bringing it close to the record-breaking hot year of 2016, when temperatures were 1.15C above the 1850-1900 period.
The highs will be the result of climate change caused by rising levels of greenhouse gases from human activity as well as modest warming from the El Nino weather phenomenon in the Pacific, which pushes up temperatures.
Forecasts issued by the Met Office at the end of 2017 for global temperatures this year were closely in line with what has been seen in 2018.
The forecasters predicted around 1C of warming, and estimates for January to October are showing temperatures around 0.96C above pre-industrial levels.
The predictions of a close-to-record hot year is the latest in the warming trend the world has seen in recent years.
Professor Adam Scaife, head of long-range prediction at the Met Office, said: “Our forecasts suggest that, by the end of 2019, 19 of the 20 warmest years on record will have occurred since the year 2000.”
Dr Doug Smith, Met Office research fellow, said: “The forecast for 2019 would place next year amongst the five warmest years on record, which would all have occurred since 2015.
“All of these years have been around 1C warmer than the pre-industrial period.”
The latest warning of rising temperatures comes after the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) revealed that 2018 was among the warmest on record, with only 2016, 2015 and 2017 hotter.
As countries met to agree the rulebook to implement the Paris climate deal, which aims to limit temperature rises to 1.5C or 2C above pre-industrial levels, scientists said carbon emissions continued to rise this year.
Experts have warned of the need to take urgent and dramatic action across society to start to bring down emissions rapidly and put the world on track to limit temperature rises and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.