10/01/2018 2:09 PM AEDT | Updated 10/01/2018 2:30 PM AEDT

Australia Swelters Through Third Warmest Year On Record

Another notch in 2017's belt. 😒

Brook Mitchell via Getty Images
Families take refuge from the heat at Darling Harbour on January 8, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. Sydney was the hottest place on earth yesterday, with temperatures reaching 47.3C in some suburbs, a recording not seen since 1939.

Australia has just sweltered through its third hottest year on record, the country's weather bureau has confirmed.

2017 was the third hottest year since records began in 1910, with a national mean temperature of 22.76C, or 0.95C hotter than the nation's long-term average, the Bureau Of Meteorology said in its annual climate statement.

"Seven of Australia's ten warmest years have occurred since 2005 and Australia has experienced just one cooler than average year in the last decade," the BOM report said.

Natural climate drivers in Australia -- such as El Nino -- were neutral, and there were cooler than average waters to Australia's west and warmer than average waters to the east of Africa during the year.

This created a strong temperature gradient across the Indian Ocean which favoured a drying influence on Australia, the report said.

"Despite the lack of an El Nino — which is normally associated with our hottest years — 2017 was still characterised by very warm temperatures," the Bureau's head of climate monitoring, Karl Braganza, told Newscorp on Tuesday.

Sydney on Sunday sweltered through its hottest day in 80 years, while in neighbouring Victoria highway bitumen melted and bushfires burned out of control.

The brutal heat wave that gripped much of Australia over the weekend took a heavy toll on wildlife, with hundreds of bats in a colony in Sydney's southwest dropping dead.

The BOM report landed as a tropical storm gathers and is forecast to make landfall in West Australia on Saturday.

Despite the scorching end to 2017, it was also Australia's 30th-wettest year in a record spanning 117 years the BOM Report found.

A BOM Snapshot of Australia's climate in 2017

The area-average total was eight percent above the 1961–1990 average of 465.2 mm.

While rainfall wa sup in some areas, the 2017 figure was below average for most of inland Queensland, most of New South Wales, eastern to central Victoria, and all of Tasmania.

Rainfall was below average across southern Australia during the cooler months of May–September.

Braganza told public broadcaster SBS he expected a wet three months ahead, as well as odds of favouring cooler than average conditions.

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