Andrew Freedman reviews 2012:
With about six weeks remaining in the year, there have already been 11 natural disasters that have cost $1 billion or more in damage, bringing 2012 to second place on the list of top billion-dollar disaster years. The current record-holder is 2011, when there were 14 billion-dollar disasters. The widespread and intense drought — which as of Nov. 6 still covered at least 60 percent of the lower 48 states — and Hurricane Sandy are expected to go down in history as two of the most costly weather-related disasters since 1980.
The prospects are "profoundly negative," the study concluded. Even in a best-case scenario, two-thirds of the suitable growing locations would disappear by 2080—and at worst, nearly 100 percent. And that's factoring in only climate change, not deforestation.
Phillip Bump adds another milestone to the year:
2012 has been, to date, the hottest year on record. Again, we must note: This record is almost certainly only temporary. Do not read this fact and then spend the next three decades telling everyone about how 2012 was the hottest year ever; by then, it will probably rank somewhere around 30th.
(Top image of Sandy, bottom image of Katrina, both from NASA, to scale. A GIF comparing Sandy and Irene is here.)