The National Geographic confirms it has redrawn its atlas since 1999, to reflect the shrinking of Arctic sea ice

An animated GIF shows the dramatic change in Artic sea ice in National Geographic atlasses since 1999. Photo credit: National Geographic.
By Anders Lorenzen

The National Geographic, one of the world’s oldest and most popular publications, last week confirmed that since 1999 it has redrawn its world famous atlas to reflect the shrinking Arctic sea ice.

When finalising his Clean Power Plan last week, US President Barack Obama said: “Shrinking ice caps forced National Geographic to make the biggest change in its atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart’’.


In an article published at the National Geographic, the publication responded to Obama’s statement: “He’s right. The shrinking of the Arctic ice sheet in the 10th edition of the National Geographic Atlas of the World is one of the most striking changes in the publication’s history”.  

An animated GIF produced by the publication, shows how Arctic sea ice appears to have halved between 1999 to 2014.

The National Geographic features developments in geography, science, nature and history, has a global audience of more than 6.8 million and was first published in 1888. The latest version of their atlas was published in 2014.

NASA scientists say that, since the 1970’s, Arctic sea ice has retreated by 12% per decade, worsening after 2007. The National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) says that Arctic sea ice cover in July this year was the eight lowest on record. The final readings of the Arctic sea ice are measured in September each year when it starts to freeze again. The all time low was recorded in 2012 and this year’s measurement is likely to be in the top ten of all time lows.
As we speak, the oil and gas major Shell is preparing to start its Arctic oil drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic, in a move fiercely opposed by environmentalists.

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