2012 is expected to be around 0.48 °C warmer than the long-term (1961-1990) global average of 14.0 °C, with a predicted likely range of between 0.34 °C and 0.62 °C, according to the Met Office annual global temperature forecast.
The middle of this range would place 2012 within the top 10 warmest years in a series which goes back to 1850.
The prediction follows provisional figures published by the Met Office and University of East Anglia last month which showed that 2011 saw temperatures 0.36 °C above the long term average and is currently ranked the 11th warmest year on record in the HadCRUT3 temperature dataset.
At the same time the World Meteorological Organization published a global average temperature anomaly of 0.41 deg C based on an average of the three international global average temperature datasets1.
Both the global average temperature value from HadCRUT3 and the WMO falls within the range predicted by the Met Office for 2011 of between 0.28 °C and 0.60 °C, with a most likely value of 0.44 °C above the long term average. This is consistent with the Met Office forecast which indicated that 2011 was unlikely to be a record year.
Adam Scaife, Head of Monthly to Decadal Forecasting at the Met Office said: "While 2010 was a record warm year, in 2011 we saw a very strong La Niña which can temporarily cool global temperatures.
"The La Niña has returned and although it is not as strong as early last year, it is still expected to influence temperatures in the year ahead. Therefore we expect 2012 to be slightly warmer than last year but not as warm as 2010."
1 The three international global temperature data sets are from the Met Office and University of East Anglia (HadCRUT3), NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NOAA NCDC) and NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (NASA GISS).