• Climate

Analysis of “2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics”

Posted on:  2015-01-29

Reviewed content

Headline: "2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics"

Published in The New York Times, by Justin Gillis, on 2015-01-16.

1.3 scientific credibility
"1.3" verdict chart image

Scientists’ Feedback


This article covers the release of annual average global surface temperature estimates for 2014, which placed it as the warmest year on record. Justin Gillis’ article placed the 2014 temperature record in the context of both natural climate variability and the long-term trend of anthropogenic climate change. Gillis fairly described some ideas as still subject to debate in the scientific community, while identifying consensus ideas clearly.

See all the scientists’ annotations in context



These comments are the overall opinion of scientists on the article, they are substantiated by their knowledge in the field and by the content of the analysis in the annotations on the article.

This article accurately describes global warming and puts the news that 2014 is the hottest year on record into appropriate context. The article does a very good job of distinguishing between climate variability and climate change with helpful discussion on ENSO and the relatively cold temperatures in the Eastern United States (while staying within the bounds of the mainstream climate science understanding).

Very good article overall. I do wish the author had fact checked the incorrect claim by Dr. Christy (that global temperatures have not changed since the end of the 20th century) prior to including his quote in the article.

Scientifically this article seems to be correct but it could be a bit more precise in some of its statements. One thing I like is that it mentions different opinions on some points where scientists do not agree rather than giving a biased story.

This article does a good job of putting the 2014 temperature record in context with quotes from experts and good descriptions of relevant issues such as El Nino. References to “skeptics” were appropriately followed up by evidence of their misinterpretation / mischaracterization of the data.

This article provides an accurate and well supported evaluation of the finding that 2014 was the hottest year on record.

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Emmanuel Vincent

Founder & Executive Director, Science Feedback

Overall, this article is fair in its representation of the 2014 temperature record event and in reminding the context of the long-term warming trend+natural climate variability.

Alexis Tantet member picture

Alexis Tantet

Postdoctoral researcher, Hamburg University, Meteorologisches Institut

The quality of this article is overall higher than most newspaper articles on climate change as it avoids the usual pitfalls such as confusing year to year variability with long-term change. It also addresses issues prone to confusion, such as why eastern USA did not experience such a warm year as most of the globe, which can help the readers to put the science in perspective with the seasonal climate they have actually experienced.

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[2] Each evaluation is independent. Scientists’ comments are all published at the same time.

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