Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming

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Overview

In 2006, one of the hottest years on record, a “pizzly” was discovered near the top of the world. Half polar bear, half grizzly, this never-before-seen animal might be dismissed as a fluke of nature. Anthony Barnosky instead sees it as a harbinger of things to come.
 
In Heatstroke, the renowned paleoecologist shows how global warming is fundamentally changing the natural world and its creatures. While melting ice may have helped produce ...

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Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming

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Overview

In 2006, one of the hottest years on record, a “pizzly” was discovered near the top of the world. Half polar bear, half grizzly, this never-before-seen animal might be dismissed as a fluke of nature. Anthony Barnosky instead sees it as a harbinger of things to come.
 
In Heatstroke, the renowned paleoecologist shows how global warming is fundamentally changing the natural world and its creatures. While melting ice may have helped produce the pizzly, climate change is more likely to wipe out species than to create them. Plants and animals that have followed the same rhythms for millennia are suddenly being confronted with a world they’re unprepared for—and adaptation usually isn’t an option.
 
This is not the first time climate change has dramatically transformed Earth. Barnosky draws connections between the coming centuries and the end of the last ice age, when mass extinctions swept the planet. The differences now are that climate change is faster and hotter than past changes, and for the first time humanity is driving it. Which means this time we can work to stop it.
 
No one knows exactly what nature will come to look like in this new age of global warming. But Heatstroke gives us a haunting portrait of what we stand to lose and the vitality of what can be saved.

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Editorial Reviews

Nature

"Read this book, and reflect on your own views about humanity's place in nature. Then plant a tree, walk to work, and go and call your political representative."
Choice

"Easily accessible yet thoroughly referenced work...This work is laced with fascinating descriptions of colorful people and places that make it enjoyable to read, even if the topic is sobering...Highly recommended."
Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University - Paul R. Ehrlich

"This fascinating and frightening book begins where others on global warming leave off. Anthony Barnosky shows that we're not just heating up the planet, but changing its basic character: today's familiar animals and wild places may not be here tomorrow. For anyone who has grown attached to nature as we know it, this is an essential, eye-opening read."
author of The Song of the Dodo and The Reluctant Mr. Darwin - David Quammen

"Heatstroke is an important and useful addition to the library on climate change, bringing insights from deep-time ecological research to help illuminate the dire forecasts of which we're already so aware."
Trends in Ecology and Evolution

"Lucid and thought-provoking popular account of climate change and biodiversity, past and present...an essential contribution...[and] a deep-history tapestry of life and evolution that is infused with admiration, curiosity, and respect for the grand experiments of nature."
The Washington Post

"[Barnosky]… argues brilliantly that conservation biology can no longer focus on saving [ecosystems]. The reason is simple: Thanks to global warming, the ecosystem we work to save today will have a different climate tomorrow."
Booklist

"Barnosky uses a unique approach to address the problem of global warming… Rather than dwell on human factors, he offers a host of examples from the past to illustrate how animals of previous era survived or failed to adapt… In straightforward language, this sensible climate-change book presents solid evidence from earth's deep history."
Publishers Weekly
Around the world, climate change is indicated by natural events-especially in shifting migration routes-leading to results familiar (species die-out) and unexpected-like the discovery of a heretofore unprecedented "pizzly," a bear cub with one polar parent and one grizzly. Not all geographical displacement is quite so friendly; as ""ecological niches are shriveling up and disappearing," common and persistent species are dying off at a rate "between 17 percent and 377 percent faster than normal" over the past 400 years. While reviewing the evidence that points to drastic changes resulting from even small global temperature increases, Barnosky also discusses biodiversity's importance, compares rates of evolutionary change with global temperatures, and recounts Earth's four previous mass extinctions. One of her grim assessments is that "many of the species that humans tend to like" will be wiped out by global warming, and spur helpful evolutionary diversification only in "what we normally call pests." For the most part Barnosky is less gloomy than curious, able and straight-forward, flavoring his report with a sense of adventure and possibility; by the end of his discussion on humanity's four-pronged problem-global warming, habitat loss, introduced species and population growth-Barnosky will have readers looking to do more than change lightbulbs.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Washington Post

"[Barnosky]… argues brilliantly that conservation biology can no longer focus on saving [ecosystems]. The reason is simple: Thanks to global warming, the ecosystem we work to save today will have a different climate tomorrow."
Choice
Easily accessible yet thoroughly referenced work...This work is laced with fascinating descriptions of colorful people and places that make it enjoyable to read, even if the topic is sobering..Highly recommended.
Nature
Read this book, and reflect on your own views about humanity's place in nature. Then plant a tree, walk to work, and go and call your political representative.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597268172
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 7/11/2010
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 347,195
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Since 1990, Anthony D. Barnosky has been on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he currently holds the posts of Professor of Integrative Biology, Curator of Fossil Mammals in the Museum of Paleontology, and Research Paleoecologist in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

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Table of Contents


Preface
 
PART I. Recipe for Disaster?
Chapter 1. The Heat Is On
Chapter 2. Behind Nature's Heartbeat
Chapter 3. On Our Watch
Chapter 4. Witnessing Extinction
Chapter 5. No Place to Run To
 
PART II. Normal for Nature
Chapter 6. California Dreaming
Chapter 7. Disturbance in Yellowstone
Chapter 8. Mountain Time in Colorado
Chapter 9. Africa on the Edge
 
PART III. Uncharted Terrain
Chapter 10. Disappearing Act
Chapter 11. Losing the Parts
Chapter 12. Skeleton Crew
Chapter 13. Bad Company
Chapter 14. Geography of Hope
 
Appendix: Slowing Down Global Warming
Notes
Index
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 23, 2014

    The impact of climate change on biodiversity is touched upon in

    The impact of climate change on biodiversity is touched upon in most book-length commentaries. In Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming, Anthony Barnosky has taken the topic to new lengths by devoting nearly the entire book to biodiversity and ecosystem impacts of global warming.
    Heatstroke was first published in 2009 but has been re-released in 2014 as a free eBook. This may be indicative of a market that is becoming somewhat saturated, but should not be taken as criticism of the quality of the book. While Heatstroke does have some limitations (no illustrations, graphs or figures, for instance) it is still a worthwhile and important contribution to climate change literature.
    Written in a style similar to that of Elizabeth Kolbert's climate change writings, Heatstroke is more-or-less an autobiographical account of Barnosky's own fieldwork spanning several continents. The accounts are interesting and, although largely non-technical, informative and matter-of-fact without the all-too-common preaching.
    Heatstroke is divided into three sections - background & dimensions of the problem; field examples; and, implications - with fourteen chapters and a brief, and expendable, Appendix on "Slowing Down Global Warming."
    One minor faux-pas of Barnosky's book is his frequent reference to the Medieval Warm Period. It is by now fairly well established that the Medieval Warm Period was real but regional, perhaps limited only to the north Atlantic. Thus, finding evidence in other regions is suggestive but may not prove anything of global significance.
    Nearly one-third of the book is devoted to detailed Notes followed by a good Index.
    Overall, Heatstroke nicely compliments other global change literature and is well worth a read.
    Richard R. Pardi Environmental Science William Paterson University

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2014

    Jack Noble#1

    Ended too soon

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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