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Expand chart
The average temperature anomaly per decade, compared to a baseline of 1951-1980. Data: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Surface Temperature Analysis; Graphic: Harry Stevens/Axios

Every area of the globe has warmed since instrument records began in 1880, NASA data shows. The planet isn't warming equally, however — the fastest temperature increases are taking place at the poles. The Arctic, for example, is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe, melting sea ice, glaciers and permafrost.

The bottom line: Due largely to human emissions of greenhouse gases, there is virtually no such thing as a cooler than average year on Earth anymore. (The last cooler-than-average month was 30 years ago, in December 1984).

"The globe is warming. There’s noise in each month or year but by the time you are looking at decadal means that part is small and the trends undeniable," said Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

What to watch: This year is expected to be among the top five warmest years.

How to read this map: It shows how much global temperatures have varied from the 1951-1980 average for each decade since 1880. NASA uses the 1951-80 period as a temperature baseline, or reference period.

Go deeper

15 mins ago - World

G7 leaders agree to call out China's “nonmarket policies and human rights abuses"

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Cornwall Airport Newquay to give a press conference on the final day of the G7 summit on June 13, 2021. Photo: Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP via Getty Images

Group of Seven leaders on Sunday announced they have agreed work together to challenge China’s “non-market economic practices” and to press Beijing to respect human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

Why it matters: President Biden went into the summit hoping to present a united front against Beijing.

Study: Key Antarctic ice shelf is speeding up its collapse

Pine Island Glacier calves several new icebergs on Feb. 11, 2020, as seen via satellite. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

The Pine Island Glacier on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is responsible for more than a quarter of Antarctica's contribution to global sea level rise over the past decades. Now, a new study shows it is more vulnerable to rapid melting than thought, because climate change is weakening its natural braking system.

Why it matters: At stake is the future of a glacier containing about 160 trillion tons of ice, which if it were all to melt into the ocean would cause about 1.6 feet of global sea level rise.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Workers are taking power back

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American workers have been losing power since 1980 — but now the tables are turning.

Why it matters: The 2010s gave us the gig economy and left millions of workers stranded seemingly forever on the precipice of financial ruin. The 2020s could be the decade when workers seize back the reins of power.

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