Figures from the Met Office, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published last week appear to show that 2017 was the warmest year on record without El Niño. This means that manmade climate change is now overtaking the influence of natural trends on the climate.
The data shows that last year was the second hottest year on record, behind 2016 and equal to 2015 – however, 2015 and 2016 were affected by the weather phenomenon El Niño, which naturally boosts worldwide temperatures. Taking out this natural effect, 2017 would have been the warmest year yet.
The acting director of the UK Met Office, Prof Peter Stott said, "It's extraordinary that temperatures in 2017 have been so high when there's no El Niño. In fact, we’ve been going into cooler La Niña conditions.
"Last year was substantially warmer than 1998 which had a very big El Niño.
"It shows clearly that the biggest natural influence on the climate is being dwarfed by human activities – predominantly CO₂ emissions."