As National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spokesman Christopher Vaccaro put it:
In many ways, 2011 rewrote the record books.
For the Guardian’s series “2011 In Review”, John Vidal sums up the past year.
The year 2011 was another ecologically tumultuous year with greenhouse gases rise to record levels, Arctic sea ice nearly equalling 2007’s record melt, and temperatures the 11th highest ever recorded.
It was marked on the ground by unparalleled extremes of heat and cold in the US, droughts and heatwaves in Europe and Africa and record numbers of weather-related natural disasters.
(And if you didn’t get kissed under the mistletoe this year, blame the drought in Texas.)