AUSTRALIA///FLOODING Following a long drought, heavy rains in December 2010 and January 2011 caused devastating floods in the state of Queensland, destroying crops and killing 35.
BRAZIL///LANDSLIDES In areas surrounding Rio de Janeiro, landslides triggered by rainfall killed 850 in January. Deforestation may have made soils in the region more prone to erosion.
NEW ZEALAND///EARTHQUAKE With an epicenter 6 miles from downtown, the Christchurch quake in February took 181 lives and caused $12 billion in damages despite having a magnitude of just 6.3.
JAPAN///EARTHQUAKE & TSUNAMI In March, Sendai was rocked by the fourth-largest earthquake on record, a magnitude 9.0. The quake and resulting tsunami killed an estimated 20,000.
CENTRAL U.S.///TORNADOES April set a new record, with 748 twisters in a single month. The season’s tornadoes killed 548 and did more than $24 billion worth of damage.
EAST AFRICA///DROUGHT A continuing drought that the United Nations describes as the worst in 60 years has left 10 million hungry.
EAST COAST///HURRICANE Irene charged up the U.S. coast in August, leaving 44 dead, 7 million without power, and thousands of roads impassable for days. Estimated damage: $7 billion.
CHINA///DROUGHT The southwest is suffering under a long dry spell that threatens the clean water supply for 14 million people.