1. Climate Change

    2012 Warmest Year in U.S. History

    OAKTON, IN - JULY 19: Corn plants struggle to survive in a drought-stricken farm field on July 19, 2012 near Oakton, Indiana. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades. Indiana was the nation's fourth largest corn producer in 2011. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    Scott Olson / Getty Images

    If you found yourself saying it was “hotter than Hades” often last year, well, you were onto something. 2012 was the warmest year on record for the continental United States, breaking the previous index set in 1998 by a long shot. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday that the average temperature of the year was 55.3 degrees—1 degree above the 1998 record and 3.2 degrees hotter than the 20th-century average. 2012 was also the driest year for the U.S. since 1988 and the second-most-extreme-weather year to date, marked by an historic drought in the Midwest, wildfires, and superstorms.

    Read it at The Washington Post