* Global temperatures to be 0.48 degrees C above average
* 2011 was 11th warmest year on record
LONDON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - This year could become one of the top 10 hottest since 1850, with global temperatures expected to be almost half a degree Celsius warmer in 2012 than the long-term (1961-1990) average of 14 degrees, the UK’s Met Office said on Wednesday.
The prediction follows provisional figures published by the Met Office and University of East Anglia last month, which showed that temperatures in 2011 were 0.36 degrees above the long-term average to make it the 11th warmest year on record.
“2012 is expected to be around 0.48 degrees warmer than the long-term (1961-1990) global average of 14.0 degrees, with a predicted likely range of between 0.34 and 0.62 degrees,” the Met Office said.
“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, (and) we expect 2012 to be slightly warmer than last year but not as warm as 2010,” said Adam Scaife, head of Monthly to Decadal Forecasting at the Met Office.
The Met Office said its figures for 2011 were close to those published by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which put the global average temperature at 0.41 degrees above the norm.
The WMO lists 2010 as its warmest year on record, and all of its 12 warmest years fall between 1998 and 2011. The Met Office also includes 1997 in its top 12.
The World Meteorological Organization based its figures on three global average temperature datasets, which came from the Met Office as well as the U.S.’s National Climatic Data Center and NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. (Reporting by Henning Gloystein, editing by Jane Baird)