Monday, September 3, 2007

Times Atlas Changes Blamed on Global Warming

The shocking headline reads "New Times Atlas displays effects of climate change" and the lead paragraph tells us that the latest edition of the Times Atlas has had to be mightily altered because of geographical differences brought about by climate change.

What are these great changes to our world that are so noticeable that the cartographers have had to re-draw their maps?

Well, for example, they cite Lake Chad in Africa, stating it is 95% smaller than it was in 1963. Did I mention that the last edition of the Times Atlas was published in 2003? Do you imagine that they haven't changed the Atlas in 40 years and are only just noticing Lake Chad? Hardly. Except it wouldn't be hype journalism unless you included things like 95% shrinkage of a lake, even if none of that shrinkage has taken place recently.

Satellite Images of Lake Chad

Aside from stating that sea levels have "strange effects" on the coastline, there are no other glaring geographical changes that are cited as being due to climate change, so let's examine Lake Chad, which we assume they meant to use as an example of how global warming is drying up water sources.

Lake Chad is the remnant of an inland sea. It has been shrinking and growing in cycles for about 13,000 years. It was at its largest around 4000 BC but studies of the sediment in the lake show it has nearly gone dry at least four times, around 8500 BC, 5500 BC, 2000 BC. and 100 BC. In the last century it nearly disappeared twice, in 1908 and 1984. It has been shrinking for the last 40 years due to increased population and increased irrigation in the area which has put a larger demand on the lake's water. In addition, overgrazing in the area has caused more desertification of the surrounding land. This may indicate that in recent years some of the lake's diminishing supply of water is due to human activity, but it isn't due to global warming.

If there is solid evidence of disappearing lakes or eroded coastlines, if global warming has taken a great toll on the geographical makeup of the Earth, why are these not reported, especially in an article that proclaims that global warming has necessitated changes to the Times Atlas? I can only conclude that this evidence must not exist.

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