2007 Times Comprehensive Atlas shows environmental damage by humans

September 3, 2007 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Atlas, Climate change, Images, Maps, Photography, Recommended books, Telegraph, Times, Visual aids | 8 Comments

The drastic effects of direct and indirect human impact on the environment, including the effects of climate change, are revealed in the Twelfth Edition of the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World.


Update: OK that’s ^^^ my replacement sentence for this one I cut and pasted straight from the Telegraph yesterday and have now struck through. (I even changed the title of this post, after William wisely nudged me to revisit this story sooner than I would have done otherwise.) My suggested edits on the introductory text follow in this blue box quote too:

The drastic effects of climate change across the globe are disclosed in a new world atlas.

Images showing deforestation in Iguacu, South America taken 20 years apart: Left 1973, right 2003

Example 1: Images showing deforestation (by mankind) in Iguaçu, South America taken 20 33 years apart: Left 1973 ^22 Feb 1972^, right ^12 May^ 2003 (dated thumbnails here!)

Cartographers of the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World have had to re-draw coastlines and reclassify land types because of the effects of global warming (the speed, and the extent, to which we humans are destroying our environment on local and global scales is increasing rapidly ~ inel).

Since the atlas was last published four years ago, sea levels have lowered in some cases and risen in others while ice caps have shrunk and lakes have almost disappeared.

The atlas’s editor-in-chief, Mick Ashworth, said: “We can literally see environmental disasters unfolding before our eyes. We have a real fear that in the near future famous geographical features will disappear forever.”

The main culprits, he added, are climate change and ill-conceived irrigation projects.

Alternatively, this is inel rewriting that sentence above with my own understanding of the situation, “The main culprits are humans. Our population growth coupled with direct and indirect actions intended to afford economic benefits to perpetrators, are increasingly damaging our fragile Earth, and are very likely causing climate change. Without mankind’s agressive use of limited natural resources, irrigation projects and deforestation on a massive scale would not be happening, and changes to the landscape in a short four-year period would not even be visible in an atlas of this kind, and we could just as easily stick with the 11th edition, as shown here, instead of requiring a 12th edition 😉

The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World Eleventh Edition Collins


Example 2: Images showing how Lake Chad has shrunk: Left 1972, right 1987

Read the rest of this article (that triggered my post) ‘Times Atlas shows effect of global warming‘ in Telegraph Earth.

Read another report on ‘Times Atlas shows how global warming is changing the world‘ at Times Online.

William is correct in his concerns in the comments below, and I am sorry if I misled anyone by using the original texts instead of writing my own in the first place!

Both articles’ headlines, i.e.

put the blame on global warming. These headlines have no connection to human lifestyles, preferring to play the “climate change is natural” card for their readership , I guess.

P.S. For another excellent visualisation tool for students, teachers and others, try also this book:

The Atlas of Climate Change



RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. […] Filed under: visualization, global warming, environment, science — Darmok @ 03:59 UTC inel’s blog drew my attention to the publication of the newest edition of the prestigious Times Comprehensive […]

  2. It’s disturbing to see how much some of these regions have changed—I remember learning about them in elementary school, never imagining they would change so much by the time I was an adult (or that we would be the ones responsible for the changes).

    Anyway, I mentioned you here.

  3. I expected better of you. The deforestation isn’t caused by climate change.

    And “Since the atlas was last published four years ago, sea levels have lowered in some cases and risen in others”!?! Are they claiming massive coastline changes from SLR in *4* years?

  4. Yes, you are right that the deforestation is caused by man and is not caused by climate change (and you can continue to expect better of me ~ I apologise if I misled you and others with these pictures and text).
    Yes, Paul Eccleston writes that in the Telegraph, but he is not attributing any particular SLR to climate change in the past 4 years. His is a more generalised statement, with specific use of ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ in his text to draw attention to these matters in a wider context that he assumes but does not explain (if you see what I mean).
    This is simply an intro cut and pasted from the source, without comment from me because I am right in the middle of getting three kids back-to-school, so only have time to draw attention to a few topics of interest between ironing, name tapes and adjusting the length of trousers … which I shall get back to now, and I will write more about carbon offsets when I have a moment’s peace to dwell on those (I have not forgotten: just am busy) 😉

  5. P.S. The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World Twelfth Edition is published by Collins and costs £150. As a result of the price tag, I have not nipped up the road to Waterstone’s to purchase a copy … and Amazon currently are selling the Eleventh Edition.

  6. Back to school, ah yes, peace and quiet 🙂

  7. 2003 – 1973 = 30.

    But no, I am writing to praise the good work here. This is an amazing ongoing story.

    (but please fix the math)


  8. Thanks for catching that, Jonathan!
    I found another source of the deforestation in Iguaçu images, and they are dated (hip-hip-hooray: I have to trust those dates since I did not take the photos myself). So, yet again, I have revised my text, this time in red. You may be surprised at what I found up there! It was not just the arithmetic that was wrong, but the dates themselves.
    I can tell you, this is the first time, and it certainly deserves to be the last time that I copy an extract straight from the Telegraph. (I usually stick to the Guardian and Independent, whose Environment and Science correspondents are much more reliable!)
    This whole escapade reminds me of marking up product data sheets and other marketing communications materials—sometimes you reach a point where it would be easier to write the documents yourself in the first place! But marketing folk are not keen on engineers doing that, because our style is lacking … 😉
    It occurs to me that this post could end up earning me a bad reputation for not being pernickety enough in the first place! (Yes, I can hear the distant sound of sniggering …)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: