This year will be warmest year on record
Experts say that an extended warming period resulting from an El Nino weather event in the Pacific Ocean will make 2007 the warmest year on record. From BBC:
They say there is a 60% chance that the average surface temperature will match or exceed the current record from 1998.Meanwhile, another report says that Australia has been the hardest hit by climate change. From ABC:
The forecasters also revealed that 2006 saw the highest average temperature in the UK since records began in 1914.
The global surface temperature is projected to be 0.54C (0.97F) above the long-term average of 14C (57C), beating the current record of 0.52C (0.94F), which was set in 1998...
This year's potential to be a record breaker is linked to a moderate strength El Nino already established in the Pacific Ocean.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that it was expected to continue into the first quarter of this year, which would have a knock-on effect.
"There is a big lag between the El Nino and the warming of global temperatures - it takes about four months or perhaps a bit longer," Prof Folland explained.
The year 2005 was the hottest year on record, and last year was not far behind.
"So what we had in 2006 was the 11th warmest year and is consistent with a warming trend we had in Australia but in many other parts of the globe," Mr Plummer said.
But where global temperatures have risen by between 0.7 and 0.8 of a degree Celsius over the century or so, Australia's has risen by 0.9 of a degree.
"In fact if we look at the 10 hottest years for Australia, 15 of those have occurred since 1980 and only two of those hottest years have occurred before 1950," Mr Plummer said.
"There is a suggestion that there is an enhanced greenhouse effect on those temperatures."
But Mr Hunt says while Australia's climate is getting warmer, extreme variations in rainfall - cyclones in the north, drought in the south - are not permanent.
Weather conditions around the country today are an example of what is happening.