Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia has issued a
chilling sobering warning about what 2007 holds for us weatherwise.
Professor Jones said the long-term trend of global warming - already blamed for bringing drought to the Horn of Africa and melting the Arctic ice shelf - is set to be exacerbated by the arrival of El Niño, the phenomenon caused by above-average sea temperatures in the Pacific.
Combined, they are set to bring extreme conditions across the globe and make 2007 warmer than 1998, the hottest year on record. It is likely temperatures will also exceed 2006, which was declared in December the hottest in Britain since 1659 and the sixth warmest in global records.
Professor Jones said: "El Niño makes the world warmer and we already have a warming trend that is increasing global temperatures by one to two tenths of a degrees celsius per decade. Together, they should make 2007 warmer than last year and it may even make the next 12 months the warmest year on record."
Meanwhile from our own Metrological service
December was cold across the country, with unusually dry weather in the north and rain in the south washing out many camping trips.
The main centres were all 2C-3C cooler than normal. Auckland had its coldest December on record since 1962, while Kelburn in Wellington recorded the coldest December since 1928.
Christchurch and Dunedin had more than twice the normal rainfall, while Auckland and Hamilton had about half their average rainfall.
Sunday's maximum temperatures of 12C and 11C in Wellington and Christchurch were close to record lows for December.
and the reason for our unusally cold December?
The weather so far this summer can be blamed on a weak El Nino weather pattern. This typically brings more low pressure systems over New Zealand, with drier weather in the north and wetter conditions in the east and south.
Here's my prediction.
Somewhere in the world is going to have the (hottest,coldest), (driest ,wettest), (January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December) since (insert whatever year that makes a compelling case) and this will be a cause for grave concern and put forward as proof of impeding doom by someone.
Meanwhile life for polar bears will carry on more or less the way it always has done.
The New Zealand Herald: Here comes summer ... well, soon