Australia experiences 3rd hottest year on record in 2017

Officials says Australia has experienced its third hottest year on record in 2017, when surrounding high sea temperatures delivered a second consecutive summer of devastating coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

Much of the World heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef off Australia's northeast coast has been left a white graveyard due to unusually high ocean temperatures causing mass bleaching of coral expanses in 1998, 2002, 2016 and 2017.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said in its annual climate statement on Wednesday the unprecedented bleaching episodes in consecutive summers came as sea surface temperatures around Australia in 2017 were the eighth highest since records began in 1900.

The bureau found 2017 was Australia's third hottest year since records began in 1910.