'It is very likely that 2017 will be either second or third warmest,' WMO scientist says.
“High-impact” events including heatwaves, droughts, hurricanes and floods could all worsen as the planet heats up, the body said, as a UN climate change conference got underway in Bonn, Germany.
"It is very unlikely" that 2017 would be hotter than 2016, Omar Baddour, a senior scientist for the organization, told a press conference in Geneva on Monday.
"Because we do not have a factor like El Nino which can boost the temperature more than we are currently observing. So it is very likely that 2017 will be either the second- or the third-warmest," Baddour added.
Last year was the hottest year ever, with an average temperature of 14.83 C, and 2017 is expected to be 14.77 C, Baddour said.
The global average temperature in 2016 was about 1.1 C higher than the pre-industrial era. It was approximately 0.83 C above the long-term average (14 C) of the WMO 1961-1990 reference period, and about 0.07 C warmer than the previous record set in 2015.
"Long-term indicators of climate change such as increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, sea level rise and ocean acidification continue unabated.
“Arctic sea ice coverage remains below average and previously stable Antarctic sea ice extent was at or near a record low," the WMO said in a statement.
According to WMO data, the average global temperature from January to September 2017 was approximately 1.1C (33.9F) above the pre-industrial era.
"As a result of a powerful El Nino, 2016 is likely to remain the warmest year on record, with 2017 and 2015 being second and/or third. 2013-2017 is set to be the warmest five-year period on record," the WMO said.
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said: “We have witnessed extraordinary weather, including temperatures topping 50C in Asia, record-breaking hurricanes in rapid succession in the Caribbean and Atlantic reaching as far as Ireland, devastating monsoon flooding affecting many millions of people and a relentless drought in East Africa."
Worldwide, 23.5 million people were displaced during weather-related disasters in 2016.
Parts of southern Europe, North Africa, parts of eastern and southern Africa and the Asian part of Russia experienced record temperatures.