Of the large inhabited land areas, only the eastern U.S. and Midwest had below-average temperatures in 2014, with some scientists seeing this as part of a ''polar vortex system'' related to persistent heat in the West.
The New York Times noted that climate-skeptic politicians, fighting controls 0n fossil-fuel emissions, have used data starting in 1998, ''when an unusually powerful El Niño produced the hottest year of the 20th century.''
"With the continued heating of the atmosphere and the surface of the ocean, 1998 is now being surpassed every four or five years, with 2014 being the first time that has happened in a year featuring no real El Niño pattern. Gavin A. Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, said the next time a strong El Niño occurs, it is likely to blow away all temperature records.''
But here in New England, it's cold today.