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UK weather: The next five years are likely to be the hottest on record due to global warming


The latest forecasts predict global average temperature could be as much as 1.62C above pre-industrial times

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 12:03 am

The average global temperature between the start of 2020 and the end of 2024 is expected to be consistently higher than it was in the last five years (Photo: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty)

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Record in Cambridge

A woman sunbathes in Hyde Park during last summer’s July heatwave (Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty)

Meanwhile, the UK recorded its highest temperature of all time last July as the mercury soared to 38.7C in Cambridge.

Although the Met Office forecast related to global average, rather than maximum, temperatures the underlying worldwide warming does increase the potential for future records in the coming years, experts said.

“Forecasts suggest enhanced warming over land, especially northern parts of Europe, Asia and North America – extending the ongoing trend,” said Doug Smith, of the Met Office.

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The landmark Paris Agreement reached by world leaders in 2015 pledges to limit global warming to as close to 1.5C as possible and no more than 2C – beyond which the consequences become increasingly devastating.

There is a slim chance that warming may breach the 1.5C barrier for at least one of the next five years – although the Met Office is careful to point out that such a development would not be irreversible.

“A temporary exceedance of 1.5C doesn’t mean that the Paris Agreement will be breached – as the target refers to a long-term average rather than an individual year. However, with our forecast showing a further warming trend, the window of opportunity continues to narrow,” said Met Office chief scientist Professor Stephen Belcher.