Producing a map can be an extremely difficult undertaking. Atlas-makers and map-makers have a tough job - the choices they make are socially, politically, and in some circumstances even scientifically charged. Greenland is losing some ice mass due to melting. The Times Atlas, however, is at the center of a discussion after publishing a map that showed a 15 percent decrease in icemass. Resource for this article: Greenland ice mass maps causing political uproar
What Greenland sees
It is very hard to calculate how much ice mass Greenland really has. The ice mass in Greenland fluctuates seasonally, and the total mass of ice as compared to total volume also fluctuates regularly. The Times Atlas, published by HarperCollins, published a change to its world atlas that showed a 15 percent decrease in total ice mass on the island nation. The atlas changed this much from the 10th to 13th editions. From edition to edition, there generally are not a lot of changes.
Press release HarperCollins has done
Between 1999 and 2011, Greenland lost about 15 percent of its ice cover, according to HarperCollins. It announced this when releasing the thirteenth edition of its World Atlas. Around the globe, the press release was reported.
Fifteen percent is a large number
The ice mass at Greenland has not been lost that quickly. It is not true that 15 percent has been lost. With a drop in that much ice mass, Greenland would increase in sea level. It would go up between three and five feet total. The actual retreat of ice between 1999 and 2011 is close to about 0.1 percent. Currently HarperCollins states it is “urgently reviewing” data for Greenland, stating:
“We use data supplied by the U.S. Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. Our data shows that it has reduced by 15 percent. That’s categorical.”
Defining what icemelt actually is
The job of identifying and mapping the melting of glaciers and ice sheets is tough at best. Climate change models predict icemelt at a particular rate that is located on changing water temperature, air temperature and other seasonal changes. To be able to account for what is really happening, climate change models would have to be re-drawn. This would be the suit if ice really was retreating this easily. In order to create models of climate and temperature change, icemelt is very essential.
The Takeaway: http://www.thetakeaway.org/2011/sep/26/times-atlas-erroneously-depicts-g...The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/sep/20/times-atlas-incorrect-...New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/science/earth/25atlas.html