Published on the 15th of September the new edition of ‘The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World’ has made thousands of new updates and adjustments, including wiping 15% of Greenland’s ice cover from the map. That’s a size comparative to the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Times cartographers have sourced the latest evidence and referred to detailed maps and records to confirm that over the last 12 years, 15% of Greenland’s permanent ice cover has simply melted away.
This, along with many other adjustments, makes The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World one of the most authoritative atlases in the world.
More changes that have had to be made include;
- The breaking up of the Antarctica ice shelves – the atlas’s new Antarctica image shows the breaking up of the Larsen B ice shelf and Wilkins ice shelf, along with the ‘ice bridge’ that once joined it to Charcot Island.
- The shrinking of seas and lakes – the level of the Dead Sea has dropped 12m in the last 12 years – the height of three double-decker buses. The main cause of this is the draining of water from the Sea of Galilee and diverting the ﬂow of the Jordan River in order to turn the desert green.
- The rapid shrinking of the Aral Sea in Central Asia as it continues its rapid retreat – it has shrunk by 75% since 1967.
- The drying up of rivers, requiring them to be redrawn – most years the Colorado River does not
reach the sea due to damming, irrigation, evaporation and water being redirected to cities such as Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. In Mongolia, the Ongyin Gol river has had its ﬂ ow diverted for gold mining operations. These and some others now shown as ‘intermittent’ could totally dry up by the time the next edition of the atlas is published, four years from now.
“With every new edition of the atlas, we are giving people across the globe an up-to-date, accurate and instant picture of the current state of the planet,” said Jethro Lennox, Editor of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World. “With each new map we can see and plot environmental changes as they happen, and are increasingly concerned that in the near future important
geographical features will disappear forever.”
The creation of South Sudan is among 7,000 changes to place names alone, a small portion of the total estimated 25,000 changes that have been made to this new edition of the atlas. This includes 978 name changes in Russia, and 882 name changes in China.
“The atlas has more variations of place names than ever before,” said Sheena Barclay, Managing Director of Collins Bartholomew. “The dissolution of the USSR has given rise to the greatest changes in recent years, and instead of Russian it is now the norm to show place names in their local national
languages in Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.”
For a summary of even more that has been included in the atlas, continue on to page 2 of this article for a full run down.
Please read the letter sent by a number of glaciologists to the New Times Atlas on my blog. Greenland’s mass loss stands at an observed 200 gigatonnes per year which is observed with NASA’s GRACE satellite, and this yields more like a 0.1% change over 12 years (presumed that we can extend the GRACE observation window). I’m afraid that there is an ugly misunderstanding because of different cartographic interpretations on the boundary of Greenland’s glaciers between two editions of the Times Atlas.