Now, you'd naturally think that changes to the earth's climate are showing up on maps, right?
Map-making has always been political, and wars have started over the drawing of a boundary, but climate change has injected a new political element into modern cartography.Right.
It has been four years since the last edition of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, and cartographers say they have had to redraw coastlines and reclassify land to reflect significant geographical changes since then.
The atlas's editor-in-chief says the new maps will let us see environmental disasters unfolding before our eyes.
Some of the most marked changes highlighted in the new atlas include the Aral Sea in central Asia, which has shrunk by 74 per cent since 1967, Lake Chad in Africa, which has shrunk by 95 per cent since 1963, and the Dead Sea in the Middle East, which is 25 metres lower than it was 50 years ago.Not Tuvalu again! Those poor old Tuvalu islanders must suffer terribly from the stress of not knowing whether they'll wake up in the morning and still be above the man made climate change sea level.
Notice how the Climate Faithful never pick the same base year for their then-and-now comparisons? At least this time they're within 20 years of each other rather than the 100 years that the BBC uses as proof of climate change.
As well, sections of the Rio Grande, Yellow, Tigris, and Colorado rivers dry out each summer, and sometimes they fail to reach the sea.
The Bangladesh coastline has had to be redrawn as more land and islands are lost to the sea, while the lowest country in the world, the Pacific nation of Tuvalu, is now only five metres above sea level.
Coastline impactSo far so good for the Climate Faithful. The story is right on message to the Gospel according to Al Gore.
Dr Peter Cowell, from the School of Geosciences at Sydney University, has looked closely at the impact of climate change on coastlines.
He says areas of environmental stress here in Australia already feature prominently in news reports.
"The Murray-Darling is clearly a canary in the mine, telling us that something is wrong," he said.
"Places like Cairns are already susceptible to marine flooding and that can only continue into the future, along with other low-lying cities or towns, ones like Ballina on the east coast of Australia, which has just been built on essentially, not just flood plains, but the old remnants of infilled lagoons, infilled by nature and natural sedimentation.
"So increasingly, as sea levels rise and [we see] changes in the hydrograph, that is, the way the rivers flood, the nuisance value of such flooding is just going to get gradually and imperceptibly worse, and will require expense to solve through engineering works or relocation."
He acknowledges there is concern about persevering with such engineering projects.
"They're unlikely, for legal reasons and present conditions anyway, to be abandoned," he said.
"The big mistake would be to continue to occupy those sorts of environments," he said.
"We need to be able to undertake the good planning based on good science, to identify, on a subtle level, which are the places to avoid and which are the places we can profit through development on without actually incurring a liability in future."
Environmental mismanagementWhat have we here? An actual different reason for climate change?
In fact, Dr Cowell says environmental mismanagement currently plays a greater role in land degradation than climate change.
The evidence provided by The Times atlas simply suggests we still have not got the right balance between economic imperatives and care for ecosystems operating in natural climate cycles.And there's little doubt that the current focus on CO2 takes the focus off the real causes of localised climate change - land use.
"There's little doubt that that's the case," he said.
"The climate change impacts in most cases will be relatively small.Hahahaha. These geologists are great. Pretty much to a man they believe that climate change is a non-issue.
"None of this means that climate change is not happening. It just means that it's complicated trying to unravel which are the actual causes and the contributions from each source to these changes."Clearly, it's political. Unfortunately, it's not scientific.
Climate change is high on the agenda of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting agenda this week and Dr Cowell says the question of what needs to be done is difficult.
"That's a huge question and plenty of more heroic souls than myself have attempted to answer it," he said.
"Clearly, it's political and it involves things like Kyoto and other international agreements.
"The reality of it is that climate is going to change and is changing, and environmental change is occurring as well.Reality? C'mon, it's unfair to bring reality into a discussion about climate change.
"It's not all necessarily as grim as Tuvalu indicates. Tuvalu has probably never been much more than five metres above sea level, whatever the sea level has been in the last centuries.What what what? as Sheila Broflovski would say. Tuvalu has never been more than five metres above sea level? As I said, geologists are great.
"So in some cases it is not as bad as it looks although it might get worse.Not as bad as it looks? How did this article ever pass muster at the ABC?
"Overall, at this stage, it looks like the best bet is to learn how to adapt to the environmental changes that are occurring because they are going to occur anyway - that's in the immediate term.The article headline indicates that maps demonstrate climate change yet there's actually nothing in it to support the claim.
"Over the long-term, one hopes that we learn somehow to collaborate internationally to curtail the effects on the atmosphere that we think are going to precipitate much larger changes into the future."