After millennia of falsely predicting the apocalypse, humanity has become understandably flippant. There were so many threatened catastrophes in 2012, from rolling earthquakes to interstellar collisions and a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar that the quips began to flow. "People are making apocalypse jokes like there's no tomorrow,' was a favourite.
The hottest summer on record. The hottest January on record. The hottest day on record for Australia as a whole. Bushfires in every state and territory. Daily rainfall records and major flooding. Over a period of 90 days, these were some of the 123 extreme weather records broken during Australia's "angry summer".
Ships should be able to sail directly over the north pole by the middle of this century, considerably reducing the costs of trade between Europe and China but posing new economic, strategic and environmental challenges for governments, according to scientists.
The dramatic reduction in the thickness and extent of late summer sea ice that has taken place in each of the last seven years has already made it possible for some ice-strengthened ships to travel across the north of Russia via the "northern sea route". Last year a total of 46 ships made the trans-Arctic passage, mostly escorted at considerable cost by Russian icebreakers.
Against a backdrop of lukewarm sentiment about environmental issues globally, levels of concern about climate change in Wales are at their highest for many years.
In a poll of 1,001 people by Cardiff and Aberystwyth Universities published on Monday, 85% reported being either fairly or very concerned about the risks of climate change, while 88% agreed that the climate was changing – levels not seen in British opinion polls since the mid 2000s.