Times Atlas Greenland ice fubar: Death by Wikipedia?

UPDATE: The publisher of the Atlas has issued a clarification and apology:

The Times Atlas is renowned for its authority and we do our utmost to maintain that reputation. In compiling the content of the atlas, we consult experts in order to depict the world as accurately as possible. For the launch of the latest edition of the atlas (The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, 13th edition), we issued a press release which unfortunately has been misleading with regard to the Greenland statistics. We came to these statistics by comparing the extent of the ice cap between the 10th and 13th editions (1999 vs 2011) of the atlas. The conclusion that was drawn from this, that 15% of Greenland’s once permanent ice cover has had to be erased, was highlighted in the press release not in the Atlas itself.   This was done without consulting the scientific community and was incorrect.   We apologize for this and will seek the advice of scientists on any future public statements.  We stand by the accuracy of the maps in this and all other editions of The Times Atlas

==============================================================

I’ve pointed out that NSIDC is denying any specific involvement in the errors related to the new Times Atlas of the World.

Makes you wonder though, was this a faulty  interpretation of existing NSIDC data by the Times, or was it something else?

Maurizio Morabito has an idea: the source might have been Wikipedia. He writes:

In fact, and intriguingly, and twice embarrassingly, there exists one map that strongly resembles the Times Atlas’ “15%” Greenland (see also the Greenland Physical Map from TourTeam.dk). And the embarrassing bits are: it’s one map used on Wikipedia. Worse, it’s supposed to be only showing ice sheet thickness, not “cover” as claimed (it doesn’t highlight the areas where the ice is less than 10m/30ft thick).

Look for example at the outline of Eastern sides of Kong Christian IX Land and Kong Christian X Land, the nearest to Iceland (brown on the Times Atlas to the left, green on Wikipedia to the right).

Read the rest at Maurizio Morabito’s Omniclimate

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57 Responses to Times Atlas Greenland ice fubar: Death by Wikipedia?

  1. Many thanks for the mention. All, do remember the mantra: this interpretation is consistent with… ;-)

  2. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    “Kong” Christian? Methinks that should be “King”. And if Wiki was the source, not surprising, given their propensity for denying denial. For the Atlaseers to be that lazy is typical of the geographically-ignorant.

  3. David Larsen says:

    Gruenelande is what the Vikings called that island during the medieval warming period because it was warmer then and alot more of the snow and icepack had melted. The vikings set up habitation sites there and took a left hand turn to the New World. It was called Findeland or Neue Findelande, that is, New Foundland. Ever heard of it?

  4. Latitude says:

    Maurizio Morabito says:
    September 20, 2011 at 9:07 am
    =======================================
    I agree with om on this one……I think he’s nailed it

    Besides, how do you draw an island on a map, unless you know it’s an island………..

  5. mikelorrey says:

    And once again, Wikipedia gets exposed as the biased lying fraud that it is.

  6. Brandon Caswell says:

    At some point the atlas makers will need to actually come clean if they are to have any credibility left…………… or not come clean if that saves what little credibility they have left.

    This “data” had to come from somewhere. They didn’t just make this map up out of nothing…..did they? If this atlas has any credibility (and I would hope they do) they will provide the data or maps they based it on. If they don’t then in means they were grossly incompetent and are hiding the fact, or they we grossly activist and are trying to save face.

    If it was simple error, they would simply point out how and why and correct. This isn’t the first map error ever……..but it does seem to follow the trend of “all errors seem to favour the alarmists mantra”. A couple errors can be coincicdence, but this steady stream of warmer and more alarmist “errors”, really tests even the most open mind to explain it away.

  7. Leon Brozyna says:

    Whoops … pink slips anyone?

  8. Paul Fox, M.D. says:

    “Kong” is Danish for ‘King’, so ‘Kong Christian’ island is perfectly correct. In fact, when ‘King Kong’ was released in Denmark, the title was changed to ‘Kong King.’

  9. Frank K. says:

    THIS JUST IN…

    The cartographers at the Time Atlas of the World have reworked their maps to correct the errors recently discovered by the public. The revised world map can be found here…

  10. pat says:

    I suspect the cartographers for The Times Atlas have degrees in Political Science.

  11. Kasuha says:

    I don’t think so. There’s a lot of similarity but many details are different.

  12. WillR says:

    I read this article in the Star this morning and that of the WUWT article on the atlas — and vis versa…

    http://arts.nationalpost.com/2011/09/20/fulford-criticism-and-conflicts-of-interest/

    Because Bernard Berenson was more respected and learned than any other expert on Renaissance art, people assumed that he was also trustworthy. His stature seemed to guarantee honesty. But after his death in 1959, successive biographies showed that the shell of prestige surrounding him concealed more than a trace of chicanery.

    I hope you see the parallels in this… I know it made me smile.

  13. I see wikipedia are currently asking for feedback on articles.

  14. For once Wikipedia has no fault. It shows ice sheet thickness up to 10m (a considerable thickness of standing ice anywhere outside Greenland and Antarctica).

    I wonder if the local Eskimos/Inuits have 500 words for “sorry cartographers it’s still cold and icy up here”?

  15. Carsten Arnholm says:

    Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:
    September 20, 2011 at 9:13 am

    “Kong” Christian? Methinks that should be “King”.

    Methinks you are wrong. In fact, meknows you are wrong. “Kong” means “King” in Danish and Norwegian.

  16. Beth says:

    “The atlas, published by HarperCollins, showed that Greenland lost 15 percent of its ice cover over the past 12 years, based on information from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado in the United States.” (Reuters)
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/19/us-atlas-ice-idUSTRE78I4UG20110919

  17. Matthew W says:

    Wikipedia is very robust !!!!

  18. Sean Peake says:

    Connolly’s fingerprints on this?

  19. Ged says:

    “Methinks you are wrong. In fact, meknows you are wrong. “Kong” means “King” in Danish and Norwegian.”

    So wait… King Kong is really King King? …Why does that oddly make sense for an oversized gorilla?

  20. mohatdebos says:

    Has Reuters now concluded that that alarmists are not telling the whole truth. I can’t recall the last time I saw a MSM article that noted two major errors by alarmist scientists!

  21. kwik says:

    So if this wasnt discovered, it would be;

    Wikipedia=>Atlas=> AR5 ? Am I right?

    No, just kidding. Can’t be that bad.

  22. HaroldW says:

    mohatdebos -
    As far as I can tell, there were no errors by scientists involved. Check the story again, and the apology issued by the publisher:

    For the launch of the latest edition of the atlas we issued a press release which unfortunately has been misleading with regard to the Greenland statistics. We came to these statistics by comparing the extent of the ice cap between the 10th and 13th editions of the atlas. The conclusion that was drawn from this, that 15% of Greenland’s once permanent ice cover has had to be erased, was highlighted in the press release not in the atlas itself. This was done without consulting the scientific community and was incorrect. We apologise for this and will seek the advice of scientists on any future public statements.

  23. WillR says:

    Cimate AUdit has a different take on this…
    http://climateaudit.org/2011/09/20/the-times-atlas-and-y2k/

    This is evident from comments at Cryolist by Martin O’Leary, a graduate student at Cambridge, as follows:

    As fun as it is to bash The Times, the images I’ve seen of the erroneous map do bear a striking resemblance to the following map which I was able to pull up on the NSIDC website by poking about looking for ice thickness information: http://bit.ly/o3iV6i

    Anyone from NSIDC care to comment on what the data source being used here is? I’m sure it’s just an issue of definitions over what’s an “ice sheet” and what’s an “outlet glacier”, but it’s pretty easy to see how an atlas-maker could use that as an authoritative source on what’s going on in Greenland.

    The NSIDC Atlas of the Cryosphere is here. If you zoom into Greenland a few times and, for the Java button “Glacier Basemaps”, select “none”; for the Java button “Greenland Basemaps” select “ice sheet thickness”; and for the snow extent button and sea ice extent buttons, select none, you’ll get the map shown by O’Leary, which matches the Times Atlas version sufficiently closely that one can say with considerable confidence that this is the provenance. I’ve shown the NSIDC map and the Times 2011 map below (the latter rotated to match NSIDC):

    Interesting read…

  24. Patagon says:

    That wikipedia lead is not worth following.

    The author of the wikipedia map seems to be a competent cartographer and references some of his sources. NSIDC provides ice thickness and surface elevation data, so I went to their web pages where the data is readily available and plot this map: http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/6374/greenland.jpg

    If I can do in 15 minutes, I am sure the Times cartographers can do in less time without any help from Wikipedia.

    The problem may be related to the 1999 data, what was used then by Times? Comparing it to the NSIDC data may not be appropriate.

    By the way, this data from NSIDC is from 2001, and there are 15 papers, full of caveats, explaining the data: http://nsidc.org/cgi-bin/get_metadata.pl?id=nsidc-0092

    I should also add that the main author, Bamber, is quite a sober scientist, his recent evaluation of Greenland mass balance is the opposite of alarmism.

  25. Captain Dave says:

    I seem to recall a science fiction story based on the premise that commercial cartographers intentionally include some false information which, when appearing on some other company’s map, proves theft.

  26. Marianne says:

    Yes, kong means king in Danish and Norwegian. Danish happens to be the main language of Greenland.

  27. PaulH says:

    Steve Milloy over at JunkScience.com has picked up on this:
    http://climateaudit.org/2011/09/20/the-times-atlas-and-y2k/

    “The error has occasioned considerable speculation as to the provenance of the error, which, like Hansen’s Y2K error, looks like it originated in a change of datasets between the 1999 edition and the 2011 edition.”

  28. Wil says:

    Greenland – maybe some knowledge would help here. And of course speaking of global warming how about this?

    In January 2006 a major scientific report was published by the Government, amid the numerous warnings about greenhouse gases, impending doom and disaster is a mention of the Greenland
    ice sheet melting and sea levels rising 25 feet over a 1000 years.

    In 1991 two Caribou hunters in Greenland stumbled on a Viking farm that had been buried in the permafrost for 500 years. The interesting question is why is a farm buried in the permafrost? The Middle Ages were warmer than the climate in the 21st Century.

    Between the 10th and 14th Century was the “Medieval Warming Period” when global temperatures were higher than they are today. As the Vikings were not industrialised and no one has found a Range Rover with horns on the bonnet buried in the permafrost, the only conclusion is that the planet warms up and cools down periodically due to natural events.

    What? Before AGW? How inconvenient is that?

  29. Paul Homewood says:

    Sondrestrom just above the arctic circle in 1973. Not much sign of ice.

    http://www.firebirds.org/menu10/slg_p05.htm

  30. Paul Homewood says:

    Or a few lighthouses in the 70′s. Where has all the snow gone?

    http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/grl.htm

  31. Paul Homewood says:

    Sisimiut in 1973. Really dig the hair!

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/17765606

  32. I think the proper term is “Koenigliche”, and in many older atlases was abbreviated “Kgl”. That would reduce the problems of understanding, especially if the atlas had a listing of terms and abbreviations. I find “Kong” especially grating.

  33. Hu McCulloch says:

    Will there be a corrected reprint and optional factory recall of the erroneous volumes?

  34. SandyInDerby says:

    Paul Homewood says:
    thanks for the links Paul, bookmarked.

    Sandy

  35. Wil says:

    Anthony, can you help me verify this please? Or anyone here – I need help with this. I’ve been searching all morning and the numbers look real. I know its off topic but the numbers blew me away – scientists estimate there could be about 3 million submarine volcanoes on the planet. If anywhere near accurate these numbers are staggering to even contemplate.

  36. Rhoda Ramirez says:

    Wil, Dr Trenbreth (or however you spell his name) had been saying that there is a lot of heat at the bottom of the ocean … perhaps he just misidentified it’s source.

  37. Dan Kurt says:

    re:”Wil says:
    September 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm
    Anthony, can you help me verify this please? Or anyone here – I need help with this. I’ve been searching all morning and the numbers look real. I know its off topic but the numbers blew me away – scientists estimate there could be about 3 million submarine volcanoes on the planet. If anywhere near accurate these numbers are staggering to even contemplate.”

    Check out this site: or http://www.iceagenow.com/Ocean_Warming.htm

  38. Autochthony says:

    Re – Wil says:

    September 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm
    Anthony, can you help me verify this please? Or anyone here – I need help with this. I’ve been searching all morning and the numbers look real. I know its off topic but the numbers blew me away – scientists estimate there could be about 3 million submarine volcanoes on the planet. If anywhere near accurate these numbers are staggering to even contemplate.

    If the oceans have an area of – from memory – about 125 million square miles [320 million square kilometres, I think] then we would have a density of one submarine volcano every ~42 square miles – so one centres on roughly every six mile square [or ten kilometer square].
    Very roughly.
    I’m not an oceanographer – merely a bumboatie – but that density seems high – very high. Given that much of the ocean floor is comparatively static, that does seem pretty dense even along ocean ridges, or about the ‘Ring of Fire’.

    Have I counted them? No.

  39. Philip Mulholland says:

    From the MailOnline Tuesday, Sep 20 2011
    A greener Greenland? Times Atlas ‘error’ overstates global warming

    A spokesman for HarperCollins yesterday admitted the land shown as green and described as ‘ice-free’ could be up to 500m – more than a quarter of a mile – thick.
    She said: ‘I can see why you could see that as misleading.’ She said the data was provided by the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

    Its lead scientist Dr Ted Scambos said it appeared the atlas had used a map from the Centre’s website which showed ‘ice thickness’ not the extent of the ice edge.</blockquote

  40. Rosco says:

    I suggest we all chip in to fund a search for the missing heat at the bottom of the oceans provided it it piloted by C’pn. Trenberth.

  41. Ian L. McQueen says:

    recent evaluation of Greenland mass balance is the opposite of alarmism.

    Captain Dave wrote:
    “September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am
    “I seem to recall a science fiction story based on the premise that commercial cartographers intentionally include some false information which, when appearing on some other company’s map, proves theft.”

    Captain-
    I read the same information as fact in an article about the production of road maps given out by gas stations. (Do they still do that???) Not science fiction according to the article.

    IanM

  42. Rosco says:

    Should be “it is piloted” …

    I believe Wikipedia has strayed from its original goal where Greenhouse gases are concerned. These pages – with the travesty of the lie that a blackbody about the same distance from the sun would be ~5 C despite lunar temperatures reaching ~123 C as quoted by NASA – are locked and cannot be edited like most pages.

    I started a comment thread raising this misinformation and was threatened with the same sort of antidiscussion threat used by Skeptical Science – ie this is not the appropriate place for this – the problem seems to be there isn’t any appropriate place to tell them they are simply wrong – which they are undoubtedly are on this statement. Subjected to the solar constant of ~1368 W/sq m a blackbody in the proximity of Earth would reach ~ 120 C when illuminated and plunge to unbelievable cold on the non illuminated side – just as the moon has been observed to do.

    This bias with respect to the “faith” of “climate” science” is clearly either driven with intent to deceive or the individuals involved have been brainwashed into denying observable facts.

    Take your pick but the value of Wikipedia is greatly diminished by its adherance to promoting false statements in order to support dubious science.

  43. Gary Hladik says:

    Captain Dave says (September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am): “I seem to recall a science fiction story based on the premise that commercial cartographers intentionally include some false information which, when appearing on some other company’s map, proves theft.”

    As I recall, deliberate disinformation in a reference work figures prominently in one of Frederick Saberhagen’s “Berserker” stories. Can’t remember which one, though. :-(

  44. Rosco says:

    PS – with the generally accepted albedo of the moon as ~0.12 the Stefan-Boltzmann equation approximates the moon will hit ~382 K or ~109 C during the lunar day. So something is wrong in Wikipedialand !

  45. David Walker says:

    There is no way around it, The Times has published a deliberately misleading document with the intention of deceiving the reader. It must recall all copies of the Atlas and pulp them, and then re-issue a corrected version.

  46. Caleb says:

    Buy an atlas while you can. They will be collecter’s items.

  47. Brady says:

    Regarding the UPDATE …
    … so the press release was wrong … but the map is still right … right?

  48. Maurizio Morabito says: September 20, 2011 at 9:58 am
    For once Wikipedia has no fault.

    I disagree. The green edge colouring is the same tactic of “warming by paintwork” as the blood-red colouring on the cover of Nature publishing Steig’s famous paper about Antarctica “warming” – only a few years earlier Antarctica was coloured decent shades of blue, then it went to purple and thence to red.

    Moreover, why is East Greenland coloured brown whereas the equivalent “green” area across the top of North Greenland is not? Again, cynicism suggests that it was felt that it would look too obvious if the northernmost part of Greenland, close to the North Pole, looked brown.

    Greenland fascinates me. Its ancient ice sheet reaches virtually to the southern tip – yet this is at the same latitude as southern Norway, southern Alaska, and further south than Iceland which has no icecap. Ellesmere Island and Baffin Island have icecaps on the Greenland side but not on the other side. None of the Northwest Passage islands. Ohhh, magnetic field effect

  49. Latitude says:

    Wil says:
    September 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Anthony, can you help me verify this please? Or anyone here – I need help with this. I’ve been searching all morning and the numbers look real. I know its off topic but the numbers blew me away – scientists estimate there could be about 3 million submarine volcanoes on the planet. If anywhere near accurate these numbers are staggering to even contemplate.
    ===============================================================
    Wil, James has an interesting take on this on his blog.
    Scientists map sea floor volcanoes because they make the sea surface higher above them.
    We don’t think it’s any coincidence that satellite sea levels and satellite sea temperatures are highest around the ring of fire……

    This is the first, there are several follow up posts….

    http://suyts.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/discussion-so-far/

  50. David Ball says:

    Makes one wonder what has gone undetected.

  51. Pointman says:

    Infowar really, just some activist cell moving the thickness/coverage goalposts to reinforce the North pole melting meme.

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/polar-bears-going-extinct-yawn/

    Pointman

  52. TomVonk says:

    New amusing development.
    As L.Motl reports here : http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/09/maldives-trust-delingpole-we-will-be.html , J.Delingpole made up a funny report about the Times’ decision to show in atlases what might be one day and no more what is .

    And believe it or not the crooks in Maldives took that for a truth and elaborated how a good idea that was :) (http://www.haveeru.com.mv/english/details/38339).

    It’s all the CAGW policies – smoke and mirror so that they finish by no more being able to distinguish what is true and what is false.

  53. John Marshall says:

    King King, Kong Kong, who cares. He was a big mother so I wouldn’t argue.

  54. Mack says:

    The Times Concise Atlas of the World is just another source of the AGW misinformation .
    I blew the dust off a 1985 copy where we have the usual big red arrows coming down to a picture of the earth’s surface and smaller red arrows leaving until they reach this huge red band and the red arrows leave even smaller.
    The bullshit rhetoric is even more priceless..
    “Man is now so powerful,however,that he could himself suddenly upset the whole balance,changing the climate and the composition of the atmosphere.”
    Yeah, we were pretty powerful back then in 1985.

  55. SSam says:

    From the post update:

    “We stand by the accuracy of the maps in this and all other editions of The Times Atlas”
    HarperCollins 20 September 2011 news release.

    If so, then the “apology” has no meaning.

  56. R. Wright says:

    “This is concrete evidence of how climate change is altering the face of the planet forever – and doing so at an alarming and accelerating rate,” said the publishers of the atlas, HarperCollins, in information given to the media last week and reiterated by a spokeswoman on Monday.”

    Shouldn’t HarperCollins revise its news release to state:

    This is concrete evidence of how climate change is altering the face of the planet forever- and NOT doing so at an alarming and accelerating rate.”

  57. son of mulder says:

    For your enjoyment here’s some Orwellian double speak from Sheena Barclay, managing director of Collins Geo concerning the Greenland map on radio in UK today.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9597000/9597252.stm

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