Climate scientists say that the world could breach a new average temperature record in 2023 or 2024, fuelled by climate change and the anticipated return of the El Nino weather phenomenon.
Climate models suggest that after three years of the La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, which generally lowers global temperatures slightly, the world will experience a return to El Nino, the warmer counterpart, later this year.
During El Nino, winds blowing west along the equator slow down, and warm water is pushed east, creating warmer surface ocean temperatures.
Climate models suggest a return to El Nino conditions in the late boreal summer, and the possibility of a strong El Nino developing towards the end of the year as well.
The world's hottest year on record so far was 2016, coinciding with a strong El Nino - although climate change has fuelled extreme temperatures even in years without the phenomenon.
The last eight years were the world's eight hottest on record - reflecting the longer-term warming trend driven by greenhouse gas emissions.