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This winter has been the warmest that the Northern Hemisphere has experienced since records began, a US government agency has said.

Land and sea temperatures across the hemisphere averaged just above zero at 0.72 C, the highest since records began 125 years ago, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

But despite the record temperatures and a continuing rise of 0.2 degrees C a year since 1995, NOAA did not see the rise as proof of global warming.

Jay Lawrimore of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center said: “Contributing factors were the long-term trend toward warmer temperatures as well as a moderate El Nino in the Pacific.

“We don’t say this winter is evidence of the influence of greenhouse gases.”

Goska Romanowicz

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