Although some states have already experienced snowfall, with Chicago breaking a 120-year-old November record last week for getting more than 11 inches, many of those on the East Coast have been experiencing a milder fall this year.

And after this Indian summer it should be no surprise that the World Meteorological Organization announced on Wednesday that 2015 is likely to be the warmest year on record.

According to preliminary figures reported by the organization, the global average surface temperature this year is set to be the warmest yet, with the 2011-2015 period the warmest five-year period on record.

From January through October, the global average surface temperature for 2015 is around 0.73 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average of 14.0 degrees Celsius.

The WMO reports that temperatures will reach the milestone of 1 degree Celsius over the pre-industrial era, and says the recent trend of hot temperatures is caused by human-induced global warming and strong El Niño events.

"The state of the global climate in 2015 will make history as for a number of reasons," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in the report. "Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached new highs and in the Northern Hemisphere spring 2015 the three-month global average concentration of CO2 crossed the 400 parts-per-million barrier for the first time.

"2015 is likely to be the hottest year on record, with ocean surface temperatures at the highest level since measurements began. It is probable that the 1° Celsius threshold will be crossed," said Jarraud. "This is all bad news for the planet."

El Niño's impacts are predicted to continue into next year, with areas in Central America and the Caribbean already feeling effects with below-average rainfall and droughts in Brazil, as well as increased wildfires in Indonesia. El Niño is a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific, and is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific.

The global average sea-surface temperature is also predicted to surpass the record set last year, with South America and Asia currently having the warmest year on record, and Africa and Europe experiencing its second-hottest.

The reports reveals our planet's oceans are absorbing more than 90 percent of energy that has accumulated in the climate system caused by greenhouse gases, which has caused the higher temperatures and sea levels.

The WMO also cited heat waves in India during May and June, as well as those in Europe and the Middle East throughout the spring and summer. Western North America also experienced significantly warmer temperatures, with dry and warm conditions adding to the development of wildfires, with Washington state suffering from the largest fire on record in August.

These extreme events during the 2011-2015 period can all be linked to climate change.

While 2015 is set to be the warmest year yet, the findings are just preliminary. The WMO published the report in order to inform negotiations at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris, running from Nov. 30-Dec. 11.

Source: WMO

Photo: Liam Moloney | Flickr

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.