Flames rise as a fire front approaches the Lake Casitas area on December 8, 2017 near Ojai, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

In 2017, Mother Nature taught us a lesson.

For years, climate scientists have predicted a future marked by hell and high water, and 2017 will be remembered as the year that Mother Nature provided us with textbook examples. Last year was the second hottest on record, and it reached that rarified status without the presence of the heat-boosting El Niño Oscillation in the Pacific. Our atmosphere now has a sustained 403 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide, jumping past 410 ppm line last April for a short time. The last time that CO2 broached this level was several million years ago, when sea level was dozens of feet higher.

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[DIGEST: Siberian Times, Geology, Inside Climate News, Esquire, Yahoo]

Across the Arctic, dramatically rising temperatures are causing permafrost to become decidedly less than permanent.

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a sign supporting coal during a rally at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on October 10, 2016. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

[DIGEST: Scientific American, Science Alert, Live Science, Ecowatch, Climate Central]

President-elect Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax, and then acted on that belief by appointing several known  climate change deniers to key cabinet posts. Right now, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether Barack Obama’s legacy as an environmental president will survive the next four years.

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