Articles | Volume 6, issue 3
The Cryosphere, 6, 533–537, 2012
The Cryosphere, 6, 533–537, 2012

Brief communication 04 May 2012

Brief communication | 04 May 2012

Brief communication
Greenland's shrinking ice cover: "fast times" but not that fast

J. S. Kargel1, A. P. Ahlstrøm2, R. B. Alley3, J. L. Bamber4, T. J. Benham5, J. E. Box6, C. Chen6, P. Christoffersen5, M. Citterio2, J. G. Cogley7, H. Jiskoot8, G. J. Leonard1, P. Morin9, T. Scambos10, T. Sheldon11, and I. Willis5 J. S. Kargel et al.
  • 1Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA
  • 2Department of Marine Geology and Glaciology, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 3Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA
  • 4Bristol Glaciology Centre, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 5Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 6Byrd Polar Research Center and Department of Geography, The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA
  • 7Department of Geography, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada
  • 8Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada
  • 9Polar Geospatial Center, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
  • 10National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA
  • 11Science Media Centre, London, UK

Abstract. A map of Greenland in the 13th edition (2011) of the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World made headlines because the publisher's media release mistakenly stated that the permanent ice cover had shrunk 15% since the previous 10th edition (1999) revision. The claimed shrinkage was immediately challenged by glaciologists, then retracted by the publisher. Here we show: (1) accurate maps of ice extent based on 1978/87 aerial surveys and recent MODIS imagery; and (2) shrinkage at 0.019% a−1 in ~50 000 km2 of ice in a part of east Greenland that is shown as ice-free in the Times Atlas.