Your 2007 global weather forecast!
Deepening drought in Australia. Stronger typhoons in Asia. Floods in Latin America.
The warmest year on record is 1998, when the average global temperature was 0.52 degrees Celsius (1.2 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the long-term average of 14 degrees C (57 F). Though such a change appears small, incremental differences can, for example, add to the ferocity of storms by evaporating more steam off the ocean.
There is a 60 percent chance that the average global temperature for 2007 will match or break that record, Britain’s Meteorological Office said Thursday. The consequences of the high temperatures could be felt worldwide.
“Even a moderate (El Nino) warming event is enough to push the global temperatures over the top,” said Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research unit at the University of East Anglia.
Many scientists expect temperatures will rise by 2 to 6 degrees Celsius (4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) this century, mainly as a result of carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels for power and transport. Some say such global warming could cause the polar ice caps to partly melt, sea levels to rise and weather patterns to change, bringing floods, famines and violent storms and putting millions of lives at risk. Others call such a view unduly alarmist.
The Meteorological Office said El Niño, a phenomenon in the tropical Pacific blamed for disrupting weather patterns, would continue for the first few months of 2007. It noted that because there is a time lag between El Niño and its full effect on surface temperatures, its influence will therefore be felt well into the year.
Sources: AP / Reuters
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