Environment

Critics like to cite research showing the rise in the world’s average surface temperatures has slowed down since 1998. But is it true?

Surfing: Riding the tube to work

Board meeting, anyone? It was just a normal day in the office for Tahiti's Tamaroa McComb yesterday, pictured here on his way to victory in round two of the Rangiroa Pro Junior surfing competition in the French Polynesian atoll of Rangiroa.

Video: Californian highway collapses

Part of California's famous Highway 1 route has crumbled into the Pacific Ocean.

Last year was second hottest on record, say scientists

In Britain it ended in freezing temperatures and weeks of snow and ice. Globally, though, 2010 was still the second warmest year on record, according to Met Office scientists who yesterday reaffirmed that the world is continuing to get warmer.

Steve Connor: East Australia forewarned by the experts who watch La Niña

A combination of heavy monsoon rain falling on already saturated ground, which has caused many rivers to burst their banks, is the straightforward explanation for the catastrophic flooding seen across vast areas of Queensland. Just before Christmas, the Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology warned Queenslanders to prepare for heavy flooding during the holiday period, due to the heavily saturated ground and rainfall that was predicted in a range of 300mm to 600mm.

Steve Connor: Recent harsh winters are not yet a pattern – but all signs point that way

To have one bad winter may be considered a misfortune, to have two on the run could be construed as a pattern. In fact, what we are experiencing now is well within the bounds of natural variability, even in a globally warmer world.

Leading article: The cold offers no comfort on climate change

Climate scientists frequently point out that the weather and the climate are not the same thing. Indeed, they often sum up the difference by saying that the climate is what we expect and the weather it what we get. The climate operates over long periods, often too long for us to remember with any accuracy without the help of good-quality records. The weather, meanwhile, is very much the here and now and is, as a result, at the forefront of our minds, which is the case now.

Adrift boys were looking for vodka

Three teenagers cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean for 50 days admitted yesterday that they had been in search of vodka.

Indonesian volcano death toll rises past 320

The number of people killed in recent eruptions of Indonesia's most volatile volcano has risen to 324, officials said today.

Dip in air cargo reflects slowing global recovery

Growth in air cargo dipped last month, reflecting weak consumer and business confidence across the world, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) warned yesterday.

John Walsh: Tahiti and the UK are not really so far apart

You have to admit it: Tahiti in early May just isn't Britain. For one thing, it's always 82 degrees fahrenheit there, morning and night. For another, lissom young women in flowery frocks with ruffled sleeves keep giving you spring onions to put behind your ear (they turn out, on inspection, to be unbudded sprigs of tiare, the national flower). For a third, you're considered a shockingly idle slugabed if you rise after 7.30am, when the sun is scorching the mist off the lagoon, and a hopeless lush if you're caught hanging out in a bar, looking for yet another pina colada, after 9.30pm. Early bedders and risers, the French Polynesians.

Why tsunamis were smaller than expected

It is fortunate that one of the biggest earthquakes in recent history has generated only relatively small tsunamis that crossed the Pacific Ocean from Chile to Japan. This is almost certainly because the rupture that generated the earthquake occurred quite deep in the Earth's crust.

Next year may be hottest yet, Met Office says

There is a good chance that next year will be the hottest year recorded for the world, according to new forecasts from the Met Office's climate prediction and research branch, the Hadley Centre.

King of Tonga bows to history as democracy comes ashore

After years of protests, the world's last absolute monarch yields power

Scores dead in tsunami in Pacific islands

A series of tsunamis smashed into the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa killing possibly more than 100 people, some washed out to sea, destroying villages and injuring hundreds, officials said today.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried