In other words, the three warmest years on record will be 2016 in first place, 2015, a respectable second, and 2014 holding down third spot. In case you're wondering, that's not a good thing. It's a bad thing.
2016 is set to be the warmest year ever recorded, according to a forecast issued by the UK Met Office on Thursday.
Climate change and the peaking of the El Niño weather phenomenon are expected to drive the global average temperature next year above the record now certain to be set for 2015, which itself beat a new record set in 2014.
The Met Office forecast indicates the global average temperature in 2016 will be 1.14C above pre-industrial temperatures, showing how challenging it will be to meet the 1.5C goal. The Met Office said there was just a 5% chance the global average temperature in 2016 would be below that in 2015.
“The vast majority of the warming is global warming, but the icing on the cake is the big El Niño event,” said Prof Adam Scaife, head of monthly to decadal prediction at the Met Office.
Rising temperatures driven by global warming combined with natural variability leads to a greater chance of extreme weather events, he said: “When variability adds to the underlying warming, it can give impacts that have never been seen before.”
Heatwaves have scorched China, Russia, Australia, the Middle East and parts of South America in the last two years. The recent floods in the northwest of England are estimated to have been made 40% more likely by climate change.