The hottest year on record, 2015, will be the new normal within the next decade if humans do not cut down greenhouse gas emissions, new research has found.

Last year was by quite a margin the hottest year on record, with global temperatures 0.9°C above the recorded average of the 20th Century meaning it is a whole 0.16°C hotter than 2014 – the second hottest year.

That 2014 was the second hottest year is no coincidence either – 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have happened in the 21st century – and the researchers determine the highs of 2015 will be the new normal within the next 25 years in every emissions model.

A sea of wind turbines can be seen from the beach at Crosby, Merseyside
The new normal may be unavoidable even with the greatest projected efforts to cut emissions (Peter Byrne/PA)

Scientists from Australia studied 18 models with varying levels of emissions to predict how average global temperatures will change and found most of them indicated this new normal would be reached by 2025.

Meanwhile, the findings show no matter how much humans cut greenhouse gas emissions 2015 temperatures will still be average or below average by 2040.

Graph showing trend
This graph, measured in Kelvin (K) shows the dotted line where the hottest year is (∆T2015) in comparison with four main emissions scenarios – RCP 8.5 representing the highest emission levels (American Meteorological Society/Sophie Lewis)

“The studies are quite sobering and show us what will happen if we’re not prepared to make the deep cuts to emissions,” author Dr Sophie Lewis of the Australian National University told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We’re trying to communicate the need to pay attention and adapt. There’s a certain amount of warming already locked in, and we should be preparing.”

The research, published in the American Meteorological Society journal indicates a trend which appears to be on course as well, with current forecasts indicating that 2016 will break the global temperature record made in 2015 – as Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, indicated last month.