decade was Australia's hottest on record as a result of global warming. And the
nation's Bureau of Meteorology says 2010 will be even warmer, with temperatures
as much as one degree above the average.
In its annual report, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology's says the decade from 2000 to 2009 was the hottest since records began 100 years ago.
The average temperature during the decade was almost half a degree Celsius above the average seen since 1960.
Climatologists say 2005 was Australia's hottest year on record, followed closely by 2009.
The past 12 months have been punctuated by three punishing heat waves, which have exacerbated bush fires, a long-standing drought and dust storms. Weather bureau officials say a single severe heat wave would be unusual, and that three in the same year was "extraordinary".
The bureau's head of climate change analysis, David Jones, thinks temperatures will keep on rising. And the reality is that Australia is warming, it's warmed by about a degree over the past 50 years, it's continuing to warm.
2010 could be another hot year for Australia, with forecasters expecting temperatures to be as much as one degree Celsius above average this year.
Australia is one of the hottest and driest continents on Earth. Scientists say its environment and economy will be hit hard by climate change.
Australia's reliance on cheap supplies of coal makes it one of the developed world's worst per capita emitters of greenhouse gases, which many researchers blame for rising temperatures.
Climate change skeptics, however, doubt that man is responsible for global warming and say any increase in temperatures is a result of natural cycles.
The issue has divided the country's main political parties. The Labor government thinks urgent action is necessary if the effects of climate change are to be minimized, while many conservative opposition lawmakers have sided with the skeptics.
That conflict is likely to make the environment a key issue in this year's federal election.