More broadly, all changes in temperature that we observe today are relatively small variations within a much larger trend on a geological time scale. We know that the earth is going through a series of freezing and warming cycles on a scale of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. And it has mostly been freezing. We’re fortunate enough to live in a cozy, warm “interglacial” period between ice ages. So we’re all staring down the barrel of the next ice age, yet we’re spending our time worrying about global warming.

But let’s say we take this hyperventilation about a few relatively warm decades seriously. Even by that standard, this latest claim is ridiculously over-hyped.

If 2014 is supposed to be “hotter” than previous years, it’s important to ask: by how much?

You can spend a long time searching through press reports to get an actual number on this—which is a scandal unto itself. Just saying one year was “hotter” or “the hottest” is a vague qualitative description. It isn’t science. Science runs on numbers. You haven’t said anything that is scientifically meaningful until you state how much warmer this year was compared to previous years—and until you give the margin of error of that measurement.