The year 2013 was in the top ten hottest years since modern records began in 1850, according to the United Nations agency, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
It tied with 2007 as the sixth warmest year, with a global land and ocean surface temperature that was 0.50°C (0.90°F) above the 1961–1990 average.
Thirteen of the 14 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century.
The warmest years on record are 2010 and 2005, with global temperatures about 0.55 °C above the long term average, followed by 1998, which also had an exceptionally strong El Niño event.
Warming El Niño events and cooling La Niña events are major drivers of the natural variability in climate.
Neither was present during 2013, which was warmer than 2011 or 2012, when La Niña had a cooling influence.
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said:
“The rate of warming is not uniform but the underlying trend is undeniable. Given the record amounts of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, global temperatures will continue to rise for generations to come. Our action – or inaction – to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases will shape the state of our planet for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
WMO released the temperature data in advance of its full Statement on the Status of the Climate which will be published in March 2014.
This will give more extensive details of regional temperatures, precipitation, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, ice cover and sea-level.
Across the world’s land surfaces only, the 2013 global temperature was about 0.85°C above the 1961−1990 average and about 0.06°C above the 2001−2010 average.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.