The year 2007 was typified by warm temperatures and wacky weather. This year in the U.S., 263 all-time high temperature records were tied or broken. New York City was hit by a tornado in August, the same month that more than 60 percent of the U.S. was abnormally dry or in drought. The Middle East saw a rare cyclone in June, Europe sizzled under killer heat waves all summer, and Australia suffered its worst drought in a century. South Africa got its first significant snowfall in 25 years, record rains fell in China, England, and Wales, and Reunion Island, 400 miles east of Africa, set a world record for the most rain in 72 hours, with 155 inches. Greenland ice cover retreated to an all-time low, Alaska permafrost warmed more than ever, and Arctic ice melted far beyond the previous melt record. And don’t expect to get back to normal anytime soon; says Michael MacCracken, a former top federal climate scientist, “Pretty soon odd years are going to become the norm.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.