2016 expected to be hottest year on record

16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have occurred in this century

2016 expected to be hottest year on record

Image: NASA

This year is set to be the hottest year on record globally, the World Meteorological Organisation has said.

Global temperatures this year are about 1.2C (2.16F) above pre-industrial levels and 0.88C (1.58F) above the average for 1961-1990, which the WMO uses as a reference period, provisional figures show.

As a result, 2016 is on track to be the hottest year in records dating back to the 19th century, and 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have occurred in the 21st century.

WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas said: "Another year, another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016."

The provisional assessment by the WMO has been released to provide information to the latest round of UN climate talks in Morocco.

The talks are focusing on implementing the world's first comprehensive climate treaty, the Paris Agreement.

It comes as a study suggests carbon emissions have seen "almost no growth" during the last three years, which marks a break from rapidly rising output in the previous decade and will raise hopes that emissions may have peaked.

The election of Donald Trump as America's President-elect has raised concerns about the international fight against climate change.

Mr Trump has previously suggested that climate change was a hoax created by the Chinese to make American manufacturing uncompetitive.

The WMO assessment showed global temperatures for January to September 2016 were 0.88C above the 14C (57.2F) average for 1961-1990.

El Nino, the powerful climate phenomenon in the Pacific which pushes up global temperatures, led to a spike in temperatures in the early part of the year.

Preliminary data for October suggests temperatures remain high enough for 2016 to be on track for the title of hottest year on record, beating 2015.

The year has also seen record-breaking concentrations of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as well as melting ice, coral reefs bleaching in the face of hot oceans, above-average sea level rise and extreme weather.

Prof Taalas said: "The extra heat from the powerful El Nino event has disappeared. The heat from global warming will continue."