Ebb and Flow: Tides and Life on Our Once and Future Planet

Overview

Ebb and Flow was named one of 2007's "best science books" by Peter Calamai, science editor of the Toronto Star [Dec. 30, 2007]. He calls it a "wonderful resource book. Tom Koppel seems to have visited or read about every place with unusual tides and water currents, yet he wears this scholarship lightly."

Tides have shaped our world. They have carved out shorelines, transformed early life on Earth, and altered the course of human civilization. Tides frustrated Alexander the Great...

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Overview

Ebb and Flow was named one of 2007's "best science books" by Peter Calamai, science editor of the Toronto Star [Dec. 30, 2007]. He calls it a "wonderful resource book. Tom Koppel seems to have visited or read about every place with unusual tides and water currents, yet he wears this scholarship lightly."

Tides have shaped our world. They have carved out shorelines, transformed early life on Earth, and altered the course of human civilization. Tides frustrated Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, and aided General MacArthur. They govern the way our planet moves, provide us with an alternative source of energy, and may be aggravating global climate change.

Drawing on science, history, and personal memories, Koppel's fascinating book engages and enlightens, demonstrating that a subject we take for granted affects all our lives. He weaves together three grand narratives, exploring how tides impact coasts and marine life, how they have altered human history and development, and how science has striven to understand the surprisingly complex way in which tides actually work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This book will be of interest to those with affinities for natural history, seafaring, and tides in general - and even tidal scientists will learn a few things about their science.

Ebb and Flow is a book that has been in the making for more than 20 years ... It's been worth the wait.

Ultimately, Koppel's book opens up a new world to those of us who have never really thought about the impact of tides on our lives. It also shows that 300 pages on the subject is no stretch at all.

Koppel successfully walks the line between presenting complex material in a readable way without 'dumbing down' the content. Each chapter opens with an anecdote drawn mostly from Koppel's many experiences on the sea. The stories segue into the chapters, giving life to the science, reiterating the role tides play in everyday existence and putting the reader right into the scene.

Despite the formidable complexity of the science of tides, Koppel packages his explanations approachably. You do not need to be a rocket science to understand him, yet everyone-even scientists-will find this book absorbing ... a fascinating mix of science, history and memoir, which is completely entertaining.

Oceanography - John L. Luick

This book will be of interest to those with affinities for natural history, seafaring, and tides in general - and even tidal scientists will learn a few things about their science.

Quill and Quire - Cherie Thiessen

Ebb and Flow is a book that has been in the making for more than 20 years ... It's been worth the wait.

Mark Lardas Galveston Daily News
Despite the formidable complexity of the science of tides, Koppel packages his explanations approachably. You do not need to be a rocket science to understand him, yet everyone-even scientists-will find this book absorbing ... a fascinating mix of science, history and memoir, which is completely entertaining.
Times Colonist - Susan Lundy

Ultimately, Koppel's book opens up a new world to those of us who have never really thought about the impact of tides on our lives. It also shows that 300 pages on the subject is no stretch at all.

Susan Lundy Gulf Islands Driftwood
Koppel successfully walks the line between presenting complex material in a readable way without 'dumbing down' the content. Each chapter opens with an anecdote drawn mostly from Koppel's many experiences on the sea. The stories segue into the chapters, giving life to the science, reiterating the role tides play in everyday existence and putting the reader right into the scene.
Mark Lardas
Despite the formidable complexity of the science of tides, Koppel packages his explanations approachably. You do not need to be a rocket science to understand him, yet everyone-even scientists-will find this book absorbing ... a fascinating mix of science, history and memoir, which is completely entertaining.
Oceanography
"This book will be of interest to those with affinities for natural history, seafaring, and tides in general - and even tidal scientists will learn a few things about their science."
— John L. Luick
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550027266
  • Publisher: Dundurn Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Koppel has written popular science articles for newspapers, and for journals such as Canadian Geographic, Equinox, Canadian Living, and Reader's Digest. He is the author of the books Lost World: Rewriting Prehistory — How New Science is Tracing America's Ice Age Mariners; Powering the Future: The Ballard Fuel Cell and the Race to Change the World ; and Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest . He lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgements 9 Prologue 11 Chapter 1 High Water and History: India, China, and How the Ancient World Learned about the Moon and Tides 15 Chapter 2 Living by the Tides: Author's Daily Activities Run in Sync with the Local Tide Tables 37 Chapter 3 Heaven and Earth: The Renaissance and Isaac Newton's Great Breakthrough in Tidal Theory 55 Chapter 4 Into the Maelstrom: Powerful Tidal Currents Generate Killer Whirlpools 73 Chapter 5 The Shape of Tides: The Great Variety of Shorelines Created by Different Tidal Regimes 91 Chapter 6 Age of Discovery: European Explorers Learn How Complex the Tides Can Be 115 Chapter 7 Tidal Tempest: Fast-Flowing Waters Doom Many a Ship 135 Chapter 8 Theory Meets Practice: Tides as Great Rotating Wave Systems 149 Chapter 9 The Great Wheel of Life: High Water and Coastal Biology 171 Chapter 10 Sea and Sky in Harmony: Oscillating Waters and Modern Tidal Forecasting 187 Chapter 11 Holding Back the Tide: How Civilizations Have Coped with High Water and Low 215 Chapter 12 The Big Picture: Climate Change and Worldwide Tidal Patterns 231 Chapter 13 Turning the Tide: Tapping the Energy of the Oceans 247 Chapter 14 Once and Future Tides: A Receding Moon and Drifting Continents 265 Epilogue: A Trip to the Beach 283 Further Reading 287
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