The next four years will be “anomalously warm” as temperatures increase on top of the global warming trend, researchers have warned.
Using a newly-developed forecast system which combines the methods of 10 climate models, scientists have predicted an increased chance of “intense to extreme” temperatures globally between 2018 and 2022.
“It is now well understood that global warming is not a smooth monotonous process,” scientists Florian Sevellec and Sybren Drijfhout wrote in a research paper published in the journal Nature Communications.
In the early 21st century, researchers suggested a hiatus in the warming.
But Sevellec and Drijfhout said year-to-year variations do not affect the long-term trend of increasing temperatures.
The pair also suggested the new forecasting system could be used to predict severe droughts, extreme rainfall and hurricanes.
But Gabi Hegerl, professor of climate system science at the University of Edinburgh, warned the global system is not currently able to predict heatwaves like the one seen in the UK this summer.
“These new predictions are not geared up at the moment to predict regional trends such as the hot summer this year,” she told the BBC.
“So they may predict how likely it is to have a global record warm year, but not a regional record summer like we’ve had in the UK.”
Temperatures reached 35.1C in the UK last month, just 1.2C off the country’s all-time record temperature for July.