Other points in the SMH article include:
It's going to be a long hot summer.
Michael Coughlan of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said 2005 and 1998 were vying to be the hottest years on record globally, with only two weeks of measurements to be made. "Nineteen ninety-eight has its nose in front, but the race is not over yet."
Dr Coughlan said the record warmth in 1998 was helped along by a strong El Nino event - a warming of the equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean occurring every three to seven years that tends to increase global temperatures. "The 2005 warmth is remarkable for the fact that it occurred in the absence of an El Nino event," he said.
Will Steffen, director of the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the Australian National University, said temperatures had risen sharply in the past few decades due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
"The last time the Earth was this warm was about 5000 or 6000 years ago."
In 1998 the average global surface temperature was 0.54 degrees above the 30-year annual average for the years 1961 to 1990. This year's temperature has so far been 0.48 degrees above the average. Final figures will be released in February.
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