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2015 Likely to Be Hottest Year on Record

By Science Media Centre New Zealand

2015 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

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This year's global average surface temperature is likely to be the warmest on record and to reach the symbolic and significant milestone of 1° Celsius above the pre-industrial era, according to a statement from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This is due to a combination of a strong El Niño and human-induced global warming, the UN agency says.

The years 2011-2015 have been the warmest 5-year period on record, with many extreme weather events - especially heatwaves - influenced by climate change, according to a WMO five-year analysis.

The WMO is issuing the provisional statement on the status of the climate in 2015, and an additional 5-year analysis for 2011-2015, to inform negotiations at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris.

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Prof Martin Manning, Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University Wellington, comments:

"It seems that Mother Nature is now trying to send some simple round numbers to the United Nations climate policymakers about to meet up in Paris. The predominant greenhouse gas, CO2, is going over 400 ppm for the first time in more than a million years, and surface temperatures are now going over 1°C above preindustrial levels.

"The details are more serious though. Records are being broken even more comprehensively at a regional level for: extremes in temperature, the...

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