Saturday 16 December 2017

Atlas shows warming of the earth

Greenland, as seen in the new Times Comprehensive Atlas Of The World
Greenland, as seen in the new Times Comprehensive Atlas Of The World

The new edition of the Times Comprehensive Atlas Of The World has turned an area of Greenland the size of the UK and Ireland "green", as it charts the retreat of once-permanent ice cover.

Cartographers have had to erase 15% of the ice on the world's largest island in the 13th edition of the atlas, reflecting the retreat of Greenland's glaciers in the past 12 years in the face of a warming climate.

They have also included a new island off the coast of Greenland, named "Warming Island" (Uunartoq Qeqertoq), which has appeared as a separate piece of land several miles long as the ice melts and is large enough to be shown on the map.

The atlas documents a number of other environmental changes, including the breaking up of the Antarctic Wilkins ice shelf and the "ice bridge" that linked it to Charcot Island.

The Aral Sea has shrunk by three-quarters (75%) since 1967, while only a small proportion of Lake Chad still remains.

For the first time, the atlas charts not only their current extent, but their former coverage to highlight the changes that the bodies of water have undergone. And rivers including the Colorado, in the US, and the Ongyin Gol in Mongolia are now shown as "intermittent".

The Colorado does not reach the sea most years because of human activities including damming, irrigation and water redirected to cities such as Salt Lake City, while the Ongyin Gol has been diverted for gold-mining activities.

Jethro Lennox, editor of the Times Comprehensive Atlas Of The World, said: "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.

"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 for ever."

The new atlas reveals areas most at risk to rising sea levels, including Pacific islands and archipelagos, Indian Ocean islands and the coasts of Africa, India, South East Asia, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Press Association

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