Dispute Over Ice Melt on Greenland Map

New atlas misrepresents melt, scientists say

Sep 20, 2011
Outside Magazine

A group of climate scientists have challenged a redrawing of the map of Greenland that suggests the island has lost 15 percent of its glacial ice. Seven researchers from Cambridge University, England, as well as glaciologists in the United States and Europe, say the a new map in the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World grossly overestimates Greenland's ice-melt, which is decreasing at 0.1 percent by volume per year. Ice loss at that rate could not be seen on a map of that scale. In a letter to atlas publisher Harper Collins, the scientists wrote that, "A 15 percent decrease in permanent ice cover since the publication of the previous atlas 12 years ago is both incorrect and misleading." A Harper Collins spokeswoman said that cartographers had used data supplied by the US Snow and Ice Data Center  and are "confident of the data we have used and of the cartography." Some researchers have speculated that the exaggerated figure was a marketing ploy. "A number like 15% ice loss used for advertising the book is simply a killer mistake that cannot be winked away," said Jeffrey Kargel, a senior researcher at the University of Arizona. The map, now in its 13th edition, was published last week.

Read more at The Guardian

Not Now

Open a World of Adventure

Our Dispatch email delivers the stories you can’t afford to miss.

Thank you!