A US government agency has confirmed that the past three months have been the warmest in many parts of the world for more than a century.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the combined land and ocean surface temperature between December and February was almost three-quarters of a degree above the average for the 20th century.

The figures were released as environment ministers from around the world gather in Germany to discuss climate change ahead of the G8 summit in June and negotiations on the issue in Indonesia in December.