Last year would not have definitely been the warmest on record without an incredibly strong El Niño warming the Pacific Ocean, according to analyses done by two climate scientists.From here, Mr Bastach argues that, perhaps - because of margins of error and so forth - 2015 wasn't really the warmest year on record, really, not properly, because even though discounting el Nino, it might not have been the hottest year, because he doesn't want it to be.
Government scientists declared 2015 to be the warmest on record in early January, reaching 0.87 degrees Celsius above the 20th Century average. But scientists admit some of that warmth would not have been possible without El Niño — a naturally-occurring warming event.
This leads him to say all sorts of silly things, like "NASA and NOAA were heavily criticized for claiming 2014 as the warmest on record when they were so unsure."
A proper commentator would have taken the opportunity to explain why, in fact, the criticism was not justified, and how margins of error work, and why it doesn't really matter when almost all of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st century, because it is the trend that matters.
Of course, he doesn't do that because his goal is to make people think, "Hmmmmm ... maybe it wasn't so hot last year after all."
Probably, we'll see people suggesting that climate peaked in 2014 and 2015 was really cooler, inspite of being hotter, and marks the start of a new cooling trend. Only, because scientists were only 38% sure 2014 was the warmest year at the time, it probably wasn't, and so on, so forth. All the way back to 1998.
Which was also a massive el Nino year, of course, but I think that fact might be conveniently overlooked.
If George Orwell lived today, he'd be penning a novel called 199, in which Hot = Cold.