Published: Dec 19, 2010

In this July 29, 2010 file photo, Moscow’s St. Bazil’s Cathedral, background, is seen through a smog covering Moscow during a heat wave. The mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin is at right. The excessive amount of extreme weather that dominated 2010 is a classic sign of man-made global warming that climate scientists have long warned about. They calculate that the killer Russian heat wave, setting a national record of 111F (nearly 44 C), would happen once every 100,000 years without global warming. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze, File)

This was the year the Earth struck back.

Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 – the deadliest year in more than a generation. More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined.

“It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves,” said Craig Fugate, who heads the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. It handled a record number of disasters in 2010.

“The term ‘100-year event’ really lost its meaning this year.”

And we have ourselves to blame most of the time, scientists and disaster experts say.

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