Secrets of the Ice: Antarctica's Clues to Climate, the Universe, and the Limits of Life

Overview

Antarctica is the only continent without permanent human habitation, yet it may hold the key to our survival. More than just a frontier for exploration, Antarctica is now understood to be a crucial part of a global climate and environment. Each year hundreds of scientists travel to the bottom of the world to investigate the climate, examine the continent's hardy life forms, and seek answers to far-reaching questions about the universe. Veronika Meduna has accompanied some of them on their expeditions, and in this...

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Overview

Antarctica is the only continent without permanent human habitation, yet it may hold the key to our survival. More than just a frontier for exploration, Antarctica is now understood to be a crucial part of a global climate and environment. Each year hundreds of scientists travel to the bottom of the world to investigate the climate, examine the continent's hardy life forms, and seek answers to far-reaching questions about the universe. Veronika Meduna has accompanied some of them on their expeditions, and in this engaging book she tells their stories and explains their dramatic discoveries.

In remote field camps and icy laboratories on the frozen continent, geologists and glaciologists learn about past temperatures and levels of greenhouse gases, and about the implications of today's climate change for the future. Some scientists study migration patterns of emperor penguins as others focus on the antifreeze inside endemic fish species. Still others investigate the microbial "masters of survival" that may help to reveal how life evolved on Earth and what it may look like on other planets. In compelling, everyday language, Meduna provides a firsthand view of the wide range of scientific activity in Antarctica today along with fascinating portraits of the intrepid men and women conducting it. More than 150 stunning color photographs complete this arresting book.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

“A visual and literate exploration of a distant, yet important, continent about which amazingly little is known.”—Choice
American Scientist
"A worthy piece of writing in its own right, but the color photographs (more than 150 of them) set it apart."—American Scientist
BioScience
"Richly illustrated with color photographs of Antarctic landscapes, wildlife, and the scientists at work in the field and laboratory."—BioScience
Choice
“A visual and literate exploration of a distant, yet important, continent about which amazingly little is known.”—Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300187007
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/9/2012
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Veronika Meduna, one of New Zealand's best-known science journalists, is a producer and presenter for Radio New Zealand's weekly science and environment program. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Land of Ice 1

1 Uncovering the Past 17

2 Life on Ice 61

3 True Antarcticans 121

4 Oasis in a Frozen Desert 157

Coda: Beyond the Ice 203

Sources and Further Reading 210

Acknowledgements 219

Index 221

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