The Incredible Shrinking Greenland

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Credit: The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World.Left: Greenland in 1999. Right: Greenland in 2011. Credit: The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World.

 

UPDATE: I’ve updated this story in a new blog post here.

For the ?rst time in its history the new edition of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World was forced to redraw its map of Greenland, reflecting the fact that 15 percent of the island’s permanent ice cover—about 115,830 square miles/300,000 square kilometers, or an area the size of Ohio—has melted in the past 12 years. (So did they draw the North Atlantic a little bigger?)

Other anthropogenic changes reflected in the Times Atlas:

  • 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 40 feet/12 meters in the last 12 years, mainly due to draining water from the Sea of Galilee and diverting it to the Jordan River.
  • The Aral Sea, which has shrunk by 75 percent since 1967.
  • The drying of rivers. Most years the Colorado River never reaches the Gulf of California due to damming, irrigation, evaporation, and water diversion to Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. In Mongolia, the Ongyin Gol river is diverted for gold mining. These and other rivers shown as ‘intermittent’ on the latest atlas could dry up entirely by the next edition in 2015.
     

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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