Change in recent surface air temperature (2005-2009) relative to the long-term mean (1951-2000)
Continuous instrumental records of Arctic air temperatures began around 1880. At most locations, temperatures measured since 2005 have been higher than at any time in the historical record. Annual average temperatures across the whole Arctic have been consistently around 1.5 centigrades or more higher than they were from 1961 to 1990. These temperatures exceed even those experienced during a warm period in the 1930s and 1940s.
The increase in average temperature since 1980 has been twice as high over the Arctic as it has been over the rest of the world.
The temperature changes are not uniform. Warming is greatest in autumn and early winter over the Arctic Ocean, where temperatures over the past ten years have been over 4 centrigrades warmer than the average for 1951-2000. This amount of warming is stronger than temperature increases at any time of year anywhere else on Earth.