The UK may have witnessed early cherry blossom, daffodils soon after Xmas, confused hedgehogs refusing to hibernate and snowdrops without snow, but now its official.

Temperatures recorded for January were the second hottest on record, reaching “ridiculously warm” heights, forecasters admitted.

Across the UK, temperatures this year have so far averaged 5.9C – 2.5C above the long-term norm for January, the Met Office said. It has already predicted that 2007 will be the hottest ever year with a global average temperature of 14.5C, following last year’s record-breaking year.

The mild weather leaves January just a fraction off the record 1916 average for the month of 6.3C. Michael Dukes, a forecaster at MeteoGroup UK, said: “It’s more evidence – not proof – but more evidence towards a warming climate. It follows on from a very warm December as well”.

The tragedy is that this year’s mild January may seem cold by comparison to what we will experience in twenty years time.