The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed that 2014 was Australia's third-warmest year since national records began in 1910. 

The data from America's space agency NASA shows that not only was 2014 the warmest year recorded since 1880, 10 of the hottest years on record have happened since 1998.

Researchers said the long-term trend was being driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly the burning of fossil fuels.

Australian maximum and minimum temperatures remained well above average for most of 2014. February was the only month that recorded below average temperatures.

That continued a pattern of warm weather seen throughout 2013, which was Australia's warmest year on record.

The bureau's full weather breakdown reveals Australia's area-averaged mean temperature last year was 0.91 degrees above the benchmark 1961-1990 average.

Maximum temperatures were 1.16 degrees above average, and minimum temperatures were 0.66 degrees above average.

The Bureau's climate monitoring manager, Dr Karl Braganza says the higher average maximum is particularly significant.

"A difference of one or two degrees doesn't sound like much, but it's actually the difference between one climate zone and the next across Australia," he said.

"So when we sustain those temperatures across a year, or even two years as we have done in the last 24 months, then that starts to become kind of significant."

Scientists have warned of grave consequences this century if global temperatures keep rising as anticipated, including heavily populated coastal regions being swamped by rising ocean levels, more deadly extreme weather events and droughts that may harm food production.

A Bureau of Meteorology map showing 2014 annual mean temperatures, compared to historical temperature observations.