Monday, December 30, 2002 - GLOBAL WARMER

NEXT year could be the warmest around the world since records began, weather experts said yesterday.

Global warming will force up temperatures in 2003, making them around 0.55C higher than the average for 1961 to 1990.

The Meteorological Office predicts that it could even be hotter than record breaking 1998 when El Nino, a weather phenomenon caused by the the eastern Pacific Ocean heating up, raised temperatures by 0.55C.

Met Office scientists Chris Folland and Andrew Colman, who made the predictions using a successful new method, said: "The best estimate is for a year equal in temperature to the warmest year on record."

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