By Alan Mascarenhas
2010 brought calamitous weather across the Northern Hemisphere, from oppressive heat and wildfire in Russia to devastating downpours in China and Pakistan. Meteorologists such as Peter Stott in Britain’s Met Office and Kevin Trenberth of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research have linked developments across the three countries to a rare atmospheric current in which Asian monsoon rains drive hot air north. With global temperatures rising (the decade from 2000 to 2009 was the hottest on record), they also warn of more extreme weather to come. For example, a warmer atmosphere enables more water to evaporate, increasing the chance of torrential downpours. With thousands of people dead or displaced, our gallery surveys the carnage of summer 2010.