THE world is on track for its ninth warmest year. Temperatures were below average for the past decade thanks to La Nina's cooling effects but were still higher than long-term averages.
The World Meteorological Organisation says that average global temperatures have been about 0.45 degrees above the 1961-1990 average of 14.2.
The results are drawn from three data sets from between January and October. The WMO will update the results in March.
It says this year continues a long-term trend of warming caused by climate change as a result of human induced-emissions of greenhouse gases and it points to record levels of Arctic sea ice melting as an indication of the changes.
The data was released early on Thursday as representatives of about 200 countries met in Doha, Qatar, for international climate change negotiations.
In a statement, the organisation's secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, said: ''Naturally occurring climate variability due to phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina impact on temperatures and precipitation on a seasonal to annual scale. But they do not alter the underlying long-term trend of rising temperatures due to climate change as a result of human activities.
"The extent of Arctic sea ice reached a record low. The alarming rate of its melt this year highlighted the far-reaching changes taking place on Earth's oceans and biosphere,'' he said.
''Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so as a result of the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records.''
In Australia, temperatures were 0.58 degrees below average from January to October, driven by cooler-than-average minimum temperatures, especially between February and August. After higher-than-normal rainfall over the past two years, thanks to La Nina, levels have returned to near normal in 2012.
But the organisation says large parts of the world experienced higher temperatures, especially north America, southern Europe, western and central Russia and north-western Asia.
■Satellite measurements have confirmed that Antarctica is losing land-bound ice because of climate change, ending decades of uncertainty. A study published in the US journal Science shows Antarctica losing a net 71 billion tonnes of ice each year, but still being vastly outpaced by the rate of ice loss in Greenland. There, about 152 billion tonnes of ice annually is turning to water.