Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land [NOOK Book]


The bitter cold and three months a year without sunlight make Antarctica virtually uninhabitable for humans. Yet a world of extraordinary wildlife persists in these harsh conditions, including leopard seals, giant squid, 50-foot algae, sea spiders, coral, multicolored sea stars, and giant predatory worms. Now, as temperatures rise, this fragile ecosystem is under attack. In this closely observed account, one of the world’s foremost experts on ...
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Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land

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The bitter cold and three months a year without sunlight make Antarctica virtually uninhabitable for humans. Yet a world of extraordinary wildlife persists in these harsh conditions, including leopard seals, giant squid, 50-foot algae, sea spiders, coral, multicolored sea stars, and giant predatory worms. Now, as temperatures rise, this fragile ecosystem is under attack. In this closely observed account, one of the world’s foremost experts on Antarctica gives us a highly original and distinctive look at a world that we're losing.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Endowed Professor of polar and marine biology at the University of Alabama–Birmingham, McClintock distills 28 years of research and 13 field expeditions to the seventh continent in his first book of popular science: an eminently readable, reasonable call to arms regarding the dangers of climate change to both the fragile Antarctic ecosystem and the planet as a whole. Each chapter covers a different angle of the problem, from the deleterious effects of increasing ocean acidification to invasions of the Antarctic Shelf by king crabs spurred by warming waters, as McClintock steadily and carefully builds his case for Antarctica as “the earth’s most well-suited natural laboratory” in which to study the impacts of climate change. Though the lab results can be scary, his kinetic, awestruck descriptions of “the Ice” paint breathtaking pictures, such as when he is “flying by helicopter down the gut-dropping length of the Taylor Dry Valley and erupting out of its mouth over the deep-blue waters set against the sparkling white expanse of McMurdo Sound’s ice edge.” Charming and anecdote-filled, the book’s only failing is that McClintock occasionally gets lost in thickets of scientific jargon, but like your favorite undergraduate science professor, he finds a way to make the most difficult, esoteric concepts accessible to the layperson. Photos. Agent: Katherine Flynn, the Kneerim and Williams Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"McClintock offers a vivid portrait." —The Washington Post

“A veteran of the extreme south, McClintock shares the otherworldly wonders unveiled by decades of research. The book is packed with joys.” —Nature

“A close look at the life of a scientist in a strange wilderness for months at a time, and a revelatory exploration of the region’s unique wildlife… McClintock is a determined, evenhanded guide.”—Smithsonian magazine

“Writing with real passion about this "desolate but beautiful" place, almost twice the size of Australia, McClintock describes the dangers of working there, but also the wonder.” —The Guardian

“A richly informative memoir from a veteran scientist who has devoted his career to Antarctica . . . Entertaining natural history.” —Kirkus Reviews

"An entertaining account." —The Austin-American Statesman

"With rare clarity, humor, high adventure and deep, sobering insight, gifted scientist-explorer-writer James McClintock shares decades of experience on, around and under the wildest ocean on Earth.  Every person alive should read- and heed- this riveting account of the swift  changes now sweeping Antarctica – and the world. If Indiana Jones were a marine biologist, he would aspire to be James McClintock."—Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and founder of Deep Search

“James B. McClintock’s Lost Antarctica is a disturbing distress signal about the traumas and strains of the South Pole in the Age of Global Warming. McClintock is a marvelous writer with a keen eye for the natural world. His knowledge of polar science is exemplary. Highly recommended!”—Douglas Brinkley author of The Quiet World and The Wilderness Warrior

"Lost Antarctica is a very original, readable, and authoritative introduction to a little known part of Earth's natural environment, and has increasing threat to its existence." —Edward O. Wilson

"Lost Antarctica is an intimate tour of a rapidly changing continent, led by one of the scientists who knows it best. James McClintock has written an important and timely book." —Elizabeth Kolbert

"James McClintock shares his deep love of Antarctica vividly in this colorful narrative.  He issues a stark warning about the catastrophe facing this remarkable place - and our globe - from the twin dangers of climate change and ocean acidification.  Lost Antarctica reminds us of the urgency of finding new energy systems that do not use our atmosphere or oceans as a waste dump." —Bill Gates

"Jim McClintock takes us with him on an extraordinary field trip to Antarctica, the frigid part of the Garden of Eden. With superb descriptions of the ice and biosphere of the great white continent, he carefully documents how climate change is having a big impact on the penguins, seals and other sea creatures that inhabit the polar waters." —Henry Pollack, Ph.D., author of A World without Ice

"Jim McClintock is a great scientist and explorer/naturalist in the tradition of Darwin and Wilson. The stories he tells are fascinating in their scientific detail and recollections, and cautionary in their implications." —Hugh Ducklow, PhD. Director of the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) at Woods Hole, Massachusetts


Kirkus Reviews
A richly informative memoir from a veteran scientist who has devoted his career to Antarctica. McClintock (Polar and Marine Biology/Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham) has undertaken 13 research expeditions to the far south, perhaps a record, and he writes an entertaining account, mixing anecdotes of these complex, often dangerous operations with their discoveries of the abundant life that thrives around a barren, frozen continent. Long periods of sunlight and circulation patterns that bring nutrients up from the bottom make icy southern seas far more productive than the tropics. At the bottom of the food chain are microscopic plants (phytoplankton) whose photosynthesis converts the sun's energy to food for microscopic animals (zooplankton) and vast numbers of small shrimplike organisms (krill), which support innumerable invertebrates, dozens of species of birds, fish, whales, seals and penguins. Inevitably, global warming is exerting its baleful effect. Glaciers are melting. Sea ice is receding. The same increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide that heats the earth is dissolving into the ocean, making it more acidic, damaging the carbonate shells of sea creatures and disordering their metabolism. Simultaneously, organisms from the north are migrating into slightly warmer Antarctic waters whose species, too finely tuned to their surrounding to adapt quickly, are dwindling. Entertaining natural history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137113733
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Series: MacSci
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 700,529
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

James B. McClintock is one of the world’s foremost experts on Antarctica, and currently the Antarctic Marine Biologist Professor of Polar and Marine Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. McClintock has appeared on local, national, and international public radio, CNN news, and the Weather Channel. He has been quoted in National Geographic Magazine, Discover Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, and others. McClintock Point, a piece of land on the north side of the entrance of Explorer’s Cove on the Scott Coast of the Ross Sea, Antarctica, was named in honor of his research.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Chapter 1 Journeys South 1

Chapter 2 It Is All about the Ice 35

Chapter 3 Life Adrift: The Small Organisms Matter 63

Chapter 4 Antarctic Seafloor: An Oasis in the Desert 87

Chapter 5 Polar Acid Seas 115

Chapter 6 The March of the King Crabs 139

Chapter 7 Ghost Rookeries: The Decline of the Adélie Penguin 165

Chapter 8 Closing the Gap: Antarctica as a Global Solution 195

Notes 219

Index 225

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2014

    Loved this book. Learned a lot of new things without even reali

    Loved this book. Learned a lot of new things without even realizing it as the author has an approachable and humorous. I'd say it made me want to go to Antarctica but I think it'd be better for Antarctica if eco-tourists keep their distance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2012

    Fascinating Read

    I enjoyed this book immensely. McClintock has combined aspects of science, adventure, and humor into a descriptive narrative that makes it hard to put this book down. The author is a research scientist who has spent many seasons in Antarctica. He details evidence of climate change he has witnessed over the years. His examples helped me understand the impact climate change could have for the entire planet. This is a very readable book filled with colorful and fascinating details. The author made me feel as if I was there with him diving under six-feet of sea ice in the clear, subfreezing Antarctic waters. Below, he describes a lush world, filled with some of the most uniquely adapted and vulnerable animals and plants on earth. I felt like I was tagging along as the author witnesses an increasing number of thunderous crashes of ice breaking off glaciers, or as he visits penguin rookeries where climate change is affecting generations of penguins. This is a good book for the armchair traveler, the person fascinated by science, those interested in learning more about global climate change, or anyone who enjoys a well written book.

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