Hottest. Year. Ever.

2010 was just named the warmest —and the wettest — year on record

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2010 was just named the hottest* —and the wettest — year on record by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. That's the data point. Here's the trendline: 2010 was also the 34th consecutive year in which global temperatures surpassed the 20th century average. Looking at NOAA's map of anomalous temperatures from last year should make you shudder: Those big red dots over Greenland are temperatures of 4 and 5 degrees Centigrade above average, melting the ice sheet that's going drive sea-level rise in the next century. Meanwhile, 2011 climate news is already off to an apocalyptic start: Australia is currently besieged by flooding of biblical proportions. An area the size of France and Germany combined has been inundated in the state of Queensland, and in the past 24 hours, the city of Brisbane has just narrowly avoided flooding of Katrina-like proportions.

*2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year in the modern record.