Moderate El Nino could see 2007 become the warmest year on record

The UK Met Office says that 2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998. The potential for a record 2007 arises partly from a moderate strength El Niño already established in the Pacific, which is expected to persist through the first few months of 2007. The lag between an El Niño and the full global surface temperature response means that the warming effect of El Niño is extended and it, therefore, affects global temperatures during the year.

Temperature records are being set in many parts of Europe. In the United Kingdom, 2006 was the warmest year on record with a mean temperature of 9.7 °C, 1.1 °C above the 1971-2000 long term average, according to the Met Office. Provisional figures show that the winter season of December 2006-February 2007 with a mean temperature of 5.47 °C, was the second warmest on the UK national record dating back to 1914.

In the Netherlands, it was the mildest winter since regular temperature observations began in the country in 1706, according to the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KMNI). The three winter months had an average temperature of 6.6°C at its headquarters in De Bilt, compared to a normal winter temperature of 3.3°C based on the average between 1971-2000.

MeteoSwiss has said that winter 2006-2007 was the warmest ever recorded in Switzerland, with average temperatures between 3°C and 4°C above the norm. Official measurements began in 1864. In the period since 1931, only the winter of 1989-1990 produced less snow that the past one.