Mapmaker gives Greenland back its ice

The world’s most authoritative atlas maker has updated its most recent edition following widespread criticism from scientists who said Greenland was looking far too green.

Cartographers for the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, last released in September 2011, have admitted they were wrong to omit around 300,000 square kilometres of polar ice from sea surrounding Greenland.

British Publishers HarperCollins originally defended the accuracy of the map, which was released with promotional material about the fast acceleration of global warming. The blunder was exposed by scientists however, who said that the chart contradicted the most recent satellite images.

Publishing editor Jethro Lennox told the Scotsman, “After publication of the 13th edition of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, it became apparent that we had not represented the permanent ice cover in Greenland fully and clearly.

“In failing to do that, this section of the map did not meet the usual high standards of accuracy and reliability that the atlas strives to uphold. To correct this, we decided to produce a new, more detailed map using the latest information available,” he added.

The updated section, which will be inserted into any remaining copies, was put together after consultation with a number of experts. Liz Morris from the Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University said, “This was a really bad mapping error. If 15 percent of ice was lost, then sea levels would have risen by one metre, and that hasn’t happened.”

(Photo: Anders Peter Amsnæs)

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