Mapmakers' claim on shape of Greenland suddenly melts away
Tuesday 20 September 2011
Prominent polar scientists have said there is "no support" for potentially "damaging" claims, made by The Times Atlas of the World last week, that Greenland's ice cover has shrunk by 15 per cent over the past 12 years as a result of global warming.
The publisher Harper Collins made international headlines when it declared that the new edition of its "comprehensive" atlas, which claims to be the "most authoritative" in the world, had been forced to depict an area the size of the UK and Ireland, previously part of Greenland's permanent ice sheet, as "green and ice-free" due to climate change.
According to promotional material for the 13th edition of the atlas, this provides "concrete evidence of how climate change is altering the face of the planet for ever – and doing so at an alarming and accelerating rate."
However, scientists at the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, which investigates climate change in the Arctic and is headed by the revered glaciologist Julian Dowdeswell, have asserted that the publisher's claims are flawed.
"Recent satellite images of Greenland make it clear that there are in fact still numerous glaciers and permanent ice cover where the new Times Atlas shows ice-free conditions and the emergence of new lands," the Institute said in a letter to Harper Collins, made public yesterday.
"We do not know why this error has occurred, but it is regrettable that the claimed drastic reduction in the extent of ice in Greenland has created headline news around the world... There is to our knowledge no support for this claim in the published scientific literature."
Dr Poul Christoffersen, the first signatory to the letter, told The Independent he believed the "inaccurate map" could be damaging to the credibility of the climate change campaign.
"When things are so obviously incorrect then we are obliged, as scientists, to bring this to the public's attention," he said.
Harper Collins yesterday stood by the atlas's contentious depiction of Greenland, and said its assertions were based on "information provided by the much respected and widely-cited" US National Snow and Ice Data Centre.
Springwatch presenter Chris Packham attacks Malta's bird slaughter which has seen 'at least' 24 protected species killed
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
The 10 best folding bikes
Red squirrels: The creature that everyone knows but is hardly seen
10 best hiking boots
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...