It might seem bleeding obvious to those people about to endure a week of scorching weather, but new data shows the past decade was one of the hottest on record in Australia.

The Bureau of Meteorology's climate snapshot of 2012, released on Thursday, found days were hot and nights were cool last year, with daytime maximum averages half a degree higher than usual.

Tasmania, the mainland's southern coast and the southwestern half of Western Australia experienced above-average temperatures.

But it was cooler than average in eastern Australia, while the Northern Territory - where temperatures normally soar - experienced it's coldest winter on record.

Balmy Darwin shivered through its chilliest August night ever. While it wasn't Thredbo, the mercury fell to a respectable 13.1C.

The first half of 2012 was cooler and wetter than average, with an ongoing La Nina event in the tropical Pacific dumping rain across most of the country, causing some flooding.

Australia had its third wettest March on record, while in late February and early March southeast Australia experienced one of its most extreme rainfall events on record.

For the Murray-Darling Basin, this event across a broad part of northern Victoria, southern NSW and eastern South Australia was the wettest seven-day period on record since at least 1900.

The cooler daytime temperatures, widespread cloud cover and rain associated with La Nina gave way during winter and spring to the drier El Nino weather system, which caused rainfall to drop 25 per cent below average.

By the end of 2012, despite January to March being the seventh wettest on record, Australia had experienced rainfall just a touch above average.

The bureau also found numerous winter and spring heat records were broken across the country from August onwards as maximum temperatures peaked above average.

Much of eastern Australia was hit by one of the most significant spring heatwaves on record at the end of November, with Oodnadatta smashing South Australia's record for the warmest overnight November temperature with a minimum of 32.3C.

No stranger to hot weather, Roxby Downs and Oodnadatta in SA's outback are about to sizzle again with six days in a row above 45C.

Overall, the 10 years to 2012 was the fifth-warmest decade in Australia's history, while, globally, last year was the ninth hottest on record.

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