2016 is "very likely" to be the hottest year on record, according to new research by the weather agency of the United Nations.
The World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) assessment of preliminary data pointed to 2016's global temperatures being around 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, it said a new report published Monday.
It said that global temperatures spiked at the beginning of the year due to the "powerful El Nino event of 2015-16." Preliminary data for October 2016 indicated that temperatures were "at a sufficiently high level" for 2016 to be the hottest year on record. If this happens, then 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been in this century.
Long term climate change indicators have also been breaking records, the WMO said, with concentrations of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hitting new records and Arctic sea ice remaining "at very low levels."
In addition, very early melting had taken place on the Greenland ice sheet, while ocean heat had helped contribute to coral reef bleaching and a higher than average sea-level rise.
"Another year. Another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016," Petteri Taalas, WMO secretary-general, said in a statement.
"The extra heat from the powerful El Niño event has disappeared. The heat from global warming will continue," he added.