Global warming could be responsible for making 2014 the hottest year on record in the UK, weather experts have said.
If the average temperature of 9.9C (49.8F) is confirmed as a record breaker, it will replace 2006 (with 9.7C) as the warmest since records began back in 1910, according to the Met Office.
The UK’s top eight warmest years have been recorded since 2002.
The Met Office said that while there had been no “record-breaking” individual months for temperatures, every month, except August, had been warmer than average.
Northern Ireland’s lowest temperature for the year (-8.8C) was recorded at Katesbridge, Co Down on December 29.
A spokesman said: “Although individual months were unremarkable, it was the persistence of the warmth that was unusual and together they add up to something record-breaking. Human influence on the climate is likely to have substantially increased the chance of breaking the UK and CET (Central England Temperature) temperature records.
“Estimates from the Met Office suggest that it has become about 10 times more likely for the UK record to be broken as a result of human influence on the climate.”
The Met Office used temperature figures from January to December 28, and assumed average weather conditions for the final three days of the year.
It has also been notably wet in 2014,
Some 1290mm (50.8in) of rain fell up to December 28 – just 5mm (0.2in) short of the fourth wettest year in 2008 but with three days of the year remaining. The Met Office said the winter of 2013/2014 was the UK’s wettest on record. May, August, October and November were also wetter than average.