The Highs And Lows Of 2012

First, a low of sorts:

But more to the point, Christopher Burt reviews the extreme temperatures recorded last year:

The Weather Underground climate extremes database follows 298 significant city sites in the U.S. which represent all climate divisions and major population centers. More importantly, they all have long periods of record (POR’s) dating back to the 19th century in most cases. This past summer some 22 of these 298 sites beat or tied their all-time absolute maximum temperature on record. This was the most since the infamous summer of 1936. No site recorded their coldest such.

Evan Lehmann notes that 2012 was "one of the most expensive weather damage years on record." And the effects were not evenly distributed:

Nearly all the world's economic damage from storms, drought, fire and earthquakes was centered in the United States as it experienced the highest temperatures ever recorded, according to Munich Re, a global reinsurance company. More than 90 percent of insured losses worldwide occurred in the United States, well above the 30-year average of 65 percent.

Despite these extreme conditions, Douglas Fischer reports that news coverage of climate change was down in 2012, "with worldwide coverage continuing its three-year slide."