Earlier this week the team at Harper Collins admitted they
had made a mistake in a "misleading" press release which
indicated that Greenland had lost 15% of its permanent ice cover.
Their apology said "This was done without consulting the scientific
community and was incorrect" but added
"We stand by the accuracy of the maps in
this and all other editions of The Times Atlas"
Since then, however, the pressure has ramped up -
from the media, but more crucially from the
scientific community - to admit that the maps themselves
were wrong. In a
press release yesterday, scientists from the Scott Polar
Research Institute (SPRI) at the University of Cambridge put it
"...scientists remain troubled by the
final statement in the latest press release from HarperCollins, "We
stand by the accuracy of the maps in this and all other editions of
The Times Atlas". Scientists still contend that the latest map of
Greenland is highly misleading and is not a proper map of the ice
extent and topography. The map shows only the extent of ice greater
than 500m thick (furthermore, it appears to show contours of Ice
Thickness rather than Surface Elevation). All permanent ice cover
less than 500m thick has simply been erased.
As far as the UK scientists are aware,
Greenland is the only map that does not show the topography and
extent of ice correctly. The maps of Antarctica, Iceland and
European Alps all appear to look sensible. If HarperCollins had
applied their "greater than 500m ice thickness rule" to other areas
of the globe, there would be virtually no glaciers mapped in
Iceland or the Alps.
The scientists urge HarperCollins to
acknowledge that their mapping of Greenland's ice is incomplete and
misleading. We would encourage them to issue a corrected map for
Greenland which shows the full ice extent and the true surface
topography. The current map is in marked contrast to the overall
quality and authoritative nature of the rest of the Atlas."
This morning Harper Collins have issued a response - or '
clarification' - that admits that
"On reflection and in discussion with
the scientific community, the current map does not make the
explanation of this topic as clear as it should be."