Row over British atlas showing greener Greenland
Tuesday 20 September 2011
A row was raging Tuesday over The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, often considered the most prestigious and authoritative, over its depiction of a reduced ice sheet over Greenland.
Polar scientists took issue with the publishers' claim that there had been a 15 percent shrinkage in the ice sheet over the last 12 years. The maps show a much greener coastline around the giant island, part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
The 544-page atlas, which costs £150 ($236, 172 euros), "is relied on and trusted by governments around the world, international organisations including the UN, the European Commission and media companies," publisher HarperCollins said.
The company admitted Tuesday that the 15 percent figure was incorrect, but said it stood by the accuracy of the new maps in the 13th edition of the atlas.
"The Times Atlas is renowned for its authority and we do our utmost to maintain that reputation," HarperCollins said in a statement.
"In compiling the content of the atlas, we consult experts in order to depict the world as accurately as possible."
But for the launch of the latest edition of the atlas, the company issued publicity material which it admitted was "misleading with regard to the Greenland statistics".
This material had said the newly-exposed land was "'green' and ice-free".
"This is concrete evidence of how climate change is altering the face of the planet forever - and doing so at an alarming and accelerating rate," HarperCollins said.
Since the 10th edition in 1999, "we have had to erase 15 percent of Greenland's once permanent ice sheet," the company said.
"While global warming has played a role in this reduction, it is also as a result of the much more accurate data and in-depth research that is now available."
Experts from the Scott Polar Research Institute, part of the prestigious University of Cambridge in eastern England, had strongly challenged those assertions - as well as the maps themselves.
"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," they said in an open letter.
"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."
The new edition of the atlas includes an estimated 25,000 updates and 7,000 changes to place names, its website says.
Sun to experience solar activity similar to that of 'Little Ice Age' hundreds of years ago
Mammoth ivory trade: Should the prehistoric species be protected – to save the elephant?
Solar power: Subsidy cut will stop one million buildings installing rooftop panels
Pope Francis calls for a new system of global government to tackle climate change
Nasa says sea levels have risen faster than thought due to climate change
- 1 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 2 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 3 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 4 News agency criticised for describing Amal Clooney as 'actor's wife' in coverage of human rights trial
- 5 David De Gea to Real Madrid: Real finally get their man with £29m bid for Manchester United goalkeeper
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...
£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...
£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...