First, that hasn't been true in a decade.
First, 2005 passed it, in modern records.
Then, 2010 passed 2005.
And now, 2014 has taken the crown.
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.
John R. Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville who is known for his skepticism about the seriousness of global warming, pointed out in an interview that 2014 had surpassed the other record-warm years by only a few hundredths of a degree, well within the error margin of global temperature measurements.
“Since the end of the 20th century, the temperature hasn’t done much,” Dr. Christy said. “It’s on this kind of warmish plateau.”