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Etch A Sketch Atlas: Redrawing the Arctic

800px-NASA_seaice_2005_lg_ArcticNational Geographic would like you to know that the shrinking of the Arctic sea ice is causing problems for the development of the 10th edition of the National Geographic Atlas of the World. In fact, one geographer with National Geographic has referred to this situation as “the biggest visible change other than the breakup of the U.S.S.R.”

The political sensitivities of mapping the world are not new to National Geographic (see this article on controversial changes to the color-coding of Crimea). But in the Arctic, the changes involve dramatic shifts in the physical landscape, as displayed in this NOAA video on the melting of old sea ice in the Arctic from 1987-2013.

With time, the geopolitics of a melting Arctic will undoubtedly catch up with the physical changes. In this context, National Geographic might consider investing in an Etch A Sketch atlas…


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