Atlasgate Shrugged: Downplaying Greenland's Fictional Ice Melt

By:  Rebecca Terrell
09/27/2011
       
Atlasgate Shrugged: Downplaying Greenland's Fictional Ice Melt

Publishers of the Times World Atlas are under fire for exaggerating ice loss in Greenland and are "urgently reviewing" their newest map of that country. HarperCollins claims the latest edition of its atlas, published September 15, depicts the world "at its most fragile," but scientists say it shows a dream world. One expert told Reuters the atlas suggests Greenland's massive ice sheets are shrinking at a rate that "could easily be 20 times too fast and might well be 50 times too fast."

HarperCollins admitted it erased 15 percent of Greenland's ice cover from its previous 2007 atlas, an amount Elizabeth Morris of Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute said "would lead to a sea level rise of 1 metre," according to Varsity. She and six colleagues wrote a letter to the publisher calling the mistake "implausible" and "stupid." Glaciologist Poul Christofferson also signed the letter and told Reuters that "a sizable portion of the area mapped as ice-free in the Atlas is clearly still ice-covered."

Publishers of the Times World Atlas are under fire for exaggerating ice loss in Greenland and are "urgently reviewing" their newest map of that country. HarperCollins claims the latest edition of its atlas, published September 15, depicts the world "at its most fragile," but scientists say it shows a dream world. One expert told Reuters the atlas suggests Greenland's massive ice sheets are shrinking at a rate that "could easily be 20 times too fast and might well be 50 times too fast."

HarperCollins admitted it erased 15 percent of Greenland's ice cover from its previous 2007 atlas, an amount Elizabeth Morris of Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute said "would lead to a sea level rise of 1 metre," according to Varsity. She and six colleagues wrote a letter to the publisher calling the mistake "implausible" and "stupid." Glaciologist Poul Christofferson also signed the letter and told Reuters that "a sizable portion of the area mapped as ice-free in the Atlas is clearly still ice-covered."

Originally, HarperCollins described the thaw, equal in size to the United Kingdom and Ireland combined, as "concrete evidence of how climate change is altering the face of the planet forever — and doing so at an alarming and accelerating rate."

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