The planet is about to pass an ominous warming milestone - and there's more coming

Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The global surface temperature in 2015 is likely to be the warmest on record and reach the significant milestone of 1° Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in a provisional statement on the status of global climate, says this is due to a combination of a strong El Niño and human-induced global warming.

The WMO has prepared the analysis ahead of the COP21, the UN climate change conference in Paris which begins on Monday to decide a global emissions reduction goal.

Australia last month had its warmest October on record and a heatwave early in the month set new records for early season warmth.

And a powerful El Niño event is gaining strength, influencing weather patterns in many parts of the world and is partly to blame for the exceptionally warm October in Australia. The impact will continue to be felt in 2016.

Globally the years 2011-2015 have been the warmest five on record, with many extreme weather events, especially heatwaves, influenced by climate change.

“The state of the global climate in 2015 will make history as for a number of reasons,” says WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

“Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached new highs and in the Northern hemisphere spring 2015, the three-month global average concentration of CO2 crossed the 400 parts per million barrier for the first time.

“2015 is likely to be the hottest year on record, with ocean surface temperatures at the highest level since measurements began. It is probable that the 1°C Celsius threshold will be crossed. This is all bad news for the planet.”

The rise in temperatures:

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