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From CCNet – 21 September 2011: The Climate Policy Network
In the latest edition of the world’s most prestigious atlas, the £150 Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, a large coastal area of Greenland from white to green, suggesting an extreme acceleration of the melting of the northern ice cap.
"With active encouragement from the Government, whole generations of school-children have now had the apocalyptic threat of climate change pushed down their throats — not just in science classes, but in almost any subject you can think of (questions on the need to fight global warming have even cropped up in English GCSE papers). The propaganda is all-encompassing." –-Christopher Booker, Daily Mail, 21 September 2011
In the map, the small numbers indicating altitude levels – known as spot heights – are also wrong because the contours drawn actually indicate thickness. In publicity material for the new atlas, publishers HarperCollins said 15 per cent of the ice sheet around Greenland – an area the size of the UK and Ireland – had melted in 12 years and was now ‘ice-free’.
However, Dr Willis, a glaciologist, said: ‘They are doing a disservice to the art of cartography...’
Last week staff from the Scott Polar Institute wrote to HarperCollins saying the map was ‘incorrect and misleading’ and that the true rate of ice loss was less than 0.1 per cent.
They added: ‘We compared recent satellite images of Greenland with the new map and found that there are in fact numerous glaciers and permanent ice cover where the new Times Atlas shows ice-free conditions and the emergence of new lands.’
Following hours of crisis meetings at HarperCollins, a spokesman admitted the ‘ice-free’ areas could in fact be covered by ice up to a quarter of a mile thick.
But she insisted they had used the ‘best data’ available. She said: ‘In compiling the content of the atlas, we consult experts in order to depict the world as accurately as possible.
‘The conclusion that 15 per cent of Greenland’s once permanent ice cover has had to be erased was highlighted in the press release not in the atlas itself.
‘This was done without consulting the scientific community and was incorrect. We apologise and will seek the advice of scientists on any future public statements.'
Which 'experts' can you trust, though?
Christopher Booker writing an article called: Global Warming And The Twisting Of Our Children's Minds (Daily Mail, 21 September 2011) added:
"The new atlas shows the ice in Greenland — the northern hemisphere’s largest ice cap — to be melting so fast that, since 1999, nearly a sixth of it has vanished. An area the size of Britain and Ireland combined, once covered in ice and snow, has now become ‘green and ice free’.
The publishers said the map revealed a whole new island off Greenland’s east coast, formerly viewed as part of the mainland — but which the vanishing ice has now shown to be quite separate. Local inhabitants have even celebrated the event by giving it an Inuit name meaning ‘Warming Island’.
However, there is nothing new about ‘Warming Island’ — it was clearly shown on maps with this name more than 50 years ago, long before the global warming scare began.
In a wider perspective, this embarrassing blunder by a commercial publishing house might not seem anything like so significant as all those grievous errors identified last year in the latest report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body that once prided itself as being the most prestigious source of authority on global warming in the world.
The fact that responsible scientists who are by no means climate sceptics should have been so anxious to point out the errors in the Times Atlas is perhaps an indication that some of the lessons of those blunders by the IPCC have struck home.