Scientists raise concerns regarding erroneous reporting of Greenland ice cover

September 20, 2011, University of Cambridge

Scientists from the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) have raised concerns regarding what they believe are erroneous claims of a 15% decrease in the permanent ice cover of Greenland in just 12 years.

The discrepancy was first brought to their attention via a media release accompanying the publication of the 13th edition of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World stating that the Atlas is ‘turning ‘green’’. Scientists from the Scott Polar Research Institute were extremely puzzled by this statement and the claim that ‘For the first time, the new edition of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World has had to erase 15% of Greenland’s once permanent ice cover – turning an area the size of the United Kingdom and Ireland ‘green’ and ice-free’.  The scientists believe that the figure of a 15% decrease in permanent ice cover since the publication of the previous atlas 12 years is both incorrect and misleading.

SPRI scientists compared recent satellite images of Greenland with the new map and found that there are in fact still numerous glaciers and permanent where the new Times Atlas shows ice-free conditions and the emergence of new lands.  Furthermore, the low-lying fringe of the main ice sheet appears to be shown as land, not ice.  They concluded that a sizable portion of the area mapped as ice-free in the Atlas is clearly still ice-covered.

Dr Poul Christoffersen said: “It is regrettable that the claimed drastic reduction in the extent of ice in Greenland has created headline news around the world. There is to our knowledge no support for this claim in the published scientific literature.”

The scientists do not disagree with the statement that climate is changing and that the Greenland Ice Sheet is affected by this. They say, however, it is crucial to report climate change and its impact accurately and to back bold statements with concrete and correct evidence.

A close inspection of the new map of Greenland shows that elevation contours are noticeably different to the contours in an older map. Dr. Ian Willis and Toby Benham from SPRI were able to reproduce these contours using ice thickness data. It appears that the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World may have used 500m ice thickness to map the ice sheet margin. If so, it is obviously an incorrect and flawed procedure.

The between the new map of Greenland and very recent satellite images detected by SPRI are shown on the BBC website.

The Scott Polar Research Institute points out that the volume of ice contained in the Greenland is approximately 2.9 million cubic kilometers and the current rate at which ice is lost is roughly 200 cubic kilometers per year. This is on the order of 0.1% by volume over 12 years. Numerous glaciers have retreated over the last decade, capturing the attention of scientists, policymakers and the general public. Because of this retreat, many glaciers are now flowing faster and terrain previously ice-covered is emerging along the coast – but not at the rate suggested in the media release accompanying the new edition of new The Times Atlas.

The SPRI scientists raising the alarm include: Dr. Poul Christoffersen, Prof. Julian Dowdeswell (Director), Mr. Toby Benham, Prof. Elizabeth M Morris, Dr. Ruth Mugford, Dr. Steven Palmer, Dr. Ian Willis.

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3.4 / 5 (7) Sep 20, 2011
NSIDC and the Danish Meteorological Institute also discredit the Times claims.

from Dr. Julienne Stroeve of NSIDC:

the loss of ice from Greenland is far less than the Times Atlas indicates. People interested in this topic should refer to the peer-reviewed literature for the latest published studies estimating ice loss in Greenland. For further information or questions, contact NSIDC at 303-492-1497 or

And from climate researcher Ruth Mottram of DMI:

There is no scientific evidence that the area of the Greenland ice sheet since 1999 has shrunk by 15% as the latest edition of the Times Atlas shows

Yet the Times still stands by thier claim saying:

We are the best there is. We are confident of the data we have used and of the cartography. We use data supplied by the US Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado

They need to call NSIDC and double check that.
1.3 / 5 (12) Sep 20, 2011
1. "Long-Range Forecast of U.S. Drought Based on Solar Activity"
_-_by the late-Dr. Theodor Landscheidt

2. "Cycles and trends in solar irradiance and climate," WIREs Climate Change 1 (Jan/Feb 2010) 111122

_-_by NRL's Dr. Judith Lean,

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

"Pride goeth before destruction,
and an haughty spirit before a fall."
_-_Proverbs 16:18
3 / 5 (6) Sep 20, 2011
Theodor Landscheidt died in 2004 an author, astrologer & amateur climatologist, the type of "scientist" whose opinions I support completely, as an amateur with no real training he is even more persuasive, than any real climate scientist, and the fact that I will on his behalf proclaim he believed in Repulsive Neutrons without a Shred of evidence bolsters my opinion of myself.

John L. Daly also died in '04 (A coincidence? not likely, the Brandenburg Orchestras Hashishin are everywhere), as he had no qualifications other than being a self-declared "Greenhouse skeptic" his ideas are to be taken as gospel truth, unlike those who know what they are talking about, his death at the hands of the B-Orch will not change his mind proving again the wisdom of his convictions.

The fact that my supporting evidence comes from such ill informed cranks like myself speaks volumes.

Dr. Judith Lean is like myself a consensus scientist of one.

"Their can be only one"
highlander 9:16
4.9 / 5 (51) Sep 20, 2011
it is crucial to report climate change and its impact accurately and to back bold statements with concrete and correct evidence.

Tell that to Algore. This is good to see though, integrity is believability.

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