Atlas shows Greenland is losing its ice

The latest edition of the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World reveals a somewhat different picture of Greenland than in the edition of the book which was published in 1999.

In the 13th edition, Greenland is shown to have lost some of its permanent ice cover, although a press release erroneously claiming it has lost nearly 15 percent of its ice has since been retracted. It is just one of the pictures illustrating the impact global warming is having on our planet.

In 2006, Uunartoq Qeqertaq appeared off the country’s east coast. It is one of the world’s newest discovered islands and is situated some 340 miles above the Arctic Circle. The land was revealed after global warming caused Greenland’s ice to melt and retreat.

Cartographers have decided to include it in the Atlas because they consider it now to be a permanent feature of Greenland’s geography. The name of the island is, appropriately, the Inuit term for Warming Island. Another change to the picture of Greenland is the brown colour which appears around its coasts. This represents land that is now exposed and represents around a 300,000 sq km area of melted ice.

Editor of the atlas, Jethro Lennox, said: “We are increasingly concerned that in the near future important geographical features will disappear forever. Greenland could reach a tipping point in about 30 years.”

The picture of Antarctica has changed as well. The breaking off of the Wilkins and Larsen B ice shelves mean that it no longer takes up so much space on the page.

(Photos: Anders Peter Amsnæs)

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