The map below shows how high latitudes on Earth – the Arctic – have warmed more dramatically over the past decades than other parts of the globe. The map shows global temperature anomalies for the years 2000 to 2009. In other words, it doesn’t show absolute temperatures. Instead, it illustrates how much warmer or colder a region was in 2000-2009 compared to the norm for 1951-1980.
Global temperatures from 2000–2009 were on average about 0.6°C higher than they were from 1951–1980. The Arctic, on the other hand, was about 2°C warmer.
Overall, since the mid-20th Century, average global temperatures have warmed about 0.6°C (1.1°F). Meanwhile, temperatures have increased about twice as fast in the Arctic as in the mid-latitudes.
This phenomenon is known as Arctic amplification.
Why is the Arctic warming faster than the rest of Earth’s globe? No one knows for sure, but the idea that it might has been discussed for a long time, decades at least, and the loss of sea ice is often mentioned as one contributing factor.
Read more about this map and about Arctic amplification from NASA.
Bottom line: The Arctic has been warming about twice as fast as the rest of the globe. A new map from NASA illustrates this uneven warming.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.