The White Planet: The Evolution and Future of Our Frozen World

Overview

"The White Planet is an appealing tour of the role of ice in the Earth system, the history of ice studies, the great discoveries from ice cores (many of them made by the authors themselves), and some important implications of these breakthroughs for energy use, climate change, and our future. The authors are giants in the field, and they conclude with an often firsthand account of the international response to the science, along with their ...

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The White Planet: The Evolution and Future of Our Frozen World

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Overview

"The White Planet is an appealing tour of the role of ice in the Earth system, the history of ice studies, the great discoveries from ice cores (many of them made by the authors themselves), and some important implications of these breakthroughs for energy use, climate change, and our future. The authors are giants in the field, and they conclude with an often firsthand account of the international response to the science, along with their recommendations for wise ways forward."—Richard B. Alley, author of The Two-Mile Time Machine

"The White Planet is a fascinating account of ice and climate change—and why we should be concerned for the future of life on Earth. The authors are world leaders in the study of the cryosphere, and the science in this book is very strong and thorough."—Jo Jacka, chief editor of the Journal of Glaciology

"In this engaging book, three pioneers of ice-core science weave together the history of Earth's ice and the history of its scientific study, showing how the past of the planet warns us about its future."—Eric Wolff, British Antarctic Survey and University of Southampton

"The White Planet is a fantastic read about an amazing scientific, technological, and human adventure. The book takes us to the center of one of the remotest places on Earth, Vostok Station, Antarctica, where the authors unveiled an astonishing chapter in climate history from layers of ice. Internationally recognized for their achievements in ice core science, the authors are true pioneers, and their words carry a unique wisdom. Everyone interested in climate science should read this book."—Eric Rignot, University of California, Irvine

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Editorial Reviews

ForeWord
Renowned French researchers Jean Jouzel, Claude Lorius, and Dominique Rayaud review the history of Earth's ice as well as the history of the study of that ice. . . . Offering thorough evidence on a variety of concerns—including shrinking polar regions, the greenhouse effect, and changes in the ozone—the authors outline a clear path to preserve the viability of the cryosophere and our planet.
Natural History - Laurence A. Marschall
[G]iven the public controversy over the nature and extent of climate change, [The White Planet] provides clear insights into the meticulous and exacting research that undergirds the scientific consensus. If you're feeling buffeted by the winds of uninformed opinion and misinformation that fill the media, then read The White Planet for a breath of fresh—if chilling—air.
Sydney Morning Herald - Fiona Capp
By analysing the climates of the past as captured in deep ice cores, ice sheets, and the atmospheric bubbles within them, the authors methodically address the many points of contention over the causes of warming and cooling. Their conclusion is unequivocal: climate change is one of the great challenges to civilisation.
From the Publisher
Jean Jouzel, one of the two winners of the Vetlesen Prize of the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation for 2012

"[G]iven the public controversy over the nature and extent of climate change, [The White Planet] provides clear insights into the meticulous and exacting research that undergirds the scientific consensus. If you're feeling buffeted by the winds of uninformed opinion and misinformation that fill the media, then read The White Planet for a breath of fresh—if chilling—air."—Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History

"Renowned French researchers Jean Jouzel, Claude Lorius, and Dominique Rayaud review the history of Earth's ice as well as the history of the study of that ice. . . . Offering thorough evidence on a variety of concerns—including shrinking polar regions, the greenhouse effect, and changes in the ozone—the authors outline a clear path to preserve the viability of the cryosophere and our planet."—
ForeWord

"By analysing the climates of the past as captured in deep ice cores, ice sheets, and the atmospheric bubbles within them, the authors methodically address the many points of contention over the causes of warming and cooling. Their conclusion is unequivocal: climate change is one of the great challenges to civilisation."—Fiona Capp, Sydney Morning Herald

"The authors relate their studies of the ice sheets and glaciers, and provide explanations of how the science works, discussing the climate history discovered in the ice, and the warming trends that have been observed therein. . . . Highly recommended for all serious collections on glaciology and climate change and for anyone who wants to know more about the science of discovering ancient climates."—
Library Journal (starred review)

"This book is a factual, chronological narrative of Earth's cryosphere, covering the critical role that the ice-covered parts of our planet play in recording climate and how ice records reveal changes in Earth's climate over the last 800,000 years. French authors Jouzel, Lorius, and Raynaud are world leaders in ice-core climate research and have been instrumental in collecting and interpreting these important records."—
Choice

"[T]he book does provide a valuable look at the science, history . . . and politics of ice-core drilling and glacial-archive analysis. It will be of immense interest to those already involved in cryospheric science even if it is less successful in its stated mission of bringing a message to the general public."—Liz Kalaugher, Physics World

Library Journal
The earth's ice—glaciers, ice sheets, ice caps, ice platforms—chronicles the history of its climate. That history is read through the strata of the ice, and the captured bubbles of ancient atmosphere each stratum contains. Glaciologists and climatologists Jouzel, Claude Lorius, and Dominique Raynaud here describe how this evidence was discovered and is being understood by scientists. This book was originally published in 2008 in France (Planète blanche) and has been adapted and revised in Fagan's translation, keeping it up to date. The authors relate their studies of the ice sheets and glaciers, and provide explanations of how the science works, discussing the climate history discovered in the ice, and the warming trends that have been observed therein. More than a third of the book is dedicated to the relationship between ice and global warming. VERDICT Highly recommended for all serious collections on glaciology and climate change and for anyone who wants to know more about the science of discovering ancient climates.—Betty Galbraith, Owen Science & Engineering Lib., Washington State Univ., Pullman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691144993
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2013
  • Pages: 316
  • Sales rank: 818,333
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Jouzel, Claude Lorius, and Dominique Raynaud are internationally acclaimed scientists who have won many awards for their work documenting long-term climate change through the study of deep ice cores. Jouzel and Raynaud are members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Lorius was awarded the 2009 Blue Planet Prize.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi

PART ONE THE WORLD OF ICE: PAST AND PRESENT 1

Chapter 1 The Ice on Our Planet 3

  • Snow and Ice: A Multifaceted World 3
  • Mountain Glaciers and Ice Caps 5
  • Polar Regions: The Omnipresence of the White Planet 7
  • Greenland, Antarctica, and Ice Shelves 10
  • Ice: An Agent and Indicator of Climate Change 14
  • The White Planet and Sea Levels 16

Chapter 2 From Exploration to Scientific Observation 18

  • The Flow of Mountain Glaciers 19
  • Mass Balance: The Health of a Glacier 21
  • The Arctic Ocean in the Time of the Explorers 23
  • The Arctic Ocean: Vulnerable Ice 25
  • Greenland: An Island Inhabited for Millennia 28
  • Greenland: An Increasingly Negative Mass Balance 28
  • Antarctica: A Much More Recent Exploration 31
  • Antarctica: A Long Uncertain Mass Balance 34

Chapter 3 Ice through the Ages 37

  • The Time of the Pioneers 37
  • Ice of Long Ago 40
  • Glaciations of the Quaternary and Astronomic Theory 46

PART TWO POLAR ICE: AMAZING ARCHIVES 51

Chapter 4 Reconstructing the Climates of the Past 53

  • The Round of Isotopes 54
  • Going Back in Time 57
  • The Recent Period 57
  • The Distant Past 60
  • Paleoceanography 61
  • Continental Archives 62
  • Dating Oceanic and Continental Archives 64
  • A Cornucopia of Results 66

Chapter 5 Glacial Archives 68

  • The Long Story of a Snowflake 68
  • The Ice and Its Isotopes: A Paleothermometer 70
  • Impurities with Multiple Sources 71
  • Air Bubbles in the Ice: A Very Beautiful Story 73
  • The Headaches of Dating 77

Chapter 6 The Campaigns 82

  • Camps Century and Byrd: The First Deep Ice Core Drillings 82
  • Fifty Years Ago: The French on the Polar Ice 86
  • The First Drilling at Dôme C: Success of the French Team 88
  • Rapid Climate Variations: Initial Inklings 91
  • Vostok: A Collaboration between French and Soviet Teams 92
  • Europe and the United States: Two Drilling Operations in the Center of Greenland 96
  • Europe Turns to Antarctica 98
  • Vostok: More than 3,600 Meters of Ice 101
  • Other Core Drilling in Antarctica 103
  • The Glaciers of the Andes and the Himalaya 105
  • A Return to Greenland 106
  • The European EPICA Drilling: A Double Success beyond All Hopes 108

Chapter 7 Vostok: The Cornucopia 110

  • A Complete Glacial-Interglacial Cycle 112
  • Climate and Greenhouse Effect Go Hand in Hand 113
  • Much More Information 118
  • A Huge Lake under the Ice 120

Chapter 8 Dôme C: 800,000 Years and the Revolution of the Rhythm of Glaciations 122

  • Ice Older than That at Vostok 123
  • Inversion of the Magnetic Field 126

Chapter 9 Rapid Climatic Variations 130

  • The First Indications 130
  • Increasingly Clear Indications 132
  • A Connection with Ocean Circulation? 133
  • Confirmation 134
  • Rapid Events during a Warm Period? 139
  • Initially Underestimated Changes in Temperature 142
  • The Connection with the Ocean Henceforth Demonstrated 143
  • Consequences on a Planetary Scale 147

Chapter 10 The Last 10,000 Years: An Almost Stable Climate 149

  • Volcanism and Solar Activity: Natural Climatic Forcings 150
  • How Long Has Human Activity Been Changing the Composition of the Atmosphere? 152

PART THREE THE WHITE PLANET TOMORROW157

Chapter 11 The Climate and Greenhouse Gases 159

  • The Greenhouse Effect: A Truly Beneficial Natural Phenomenon 159
  • The Greenhouse Effect Due to Human Activity: A Slow Awareness 163
  • How Did We Get to This Point? 168

Chapter 12 Have Humans Already Changed the Climate? 173

  • The Time of the Pioneers 173
  • The Awareness 174
  • The Establishment of the IPCC 177
  • The Problem of Aerosols 180
  • The Climate in the Last Millennium 183
  • Warming Is a Certainty 185
  • The Arguments of Skeptics 189
  • The White Planet on the Front Lines of Global Warming 195

Chapter 13 What Will the Climate Be in the Future? 201

  • A True Upheaval if We Aren't Careful 202
  • What Will Become of Our Glaciers? 206
  • An Arctic Ocean without Ice? 209
  • Surprises under the Frozen Ground 210
  • A More Rapid and Higher Sea-Level Rise than Predicted 211
  • The Halt of the Gulf Stream 214

Chapter 14 A Warming with Multiple Consequences 218

  • A True Upheaval on a Global Scale 218
  • Mountain Regions 222
  • Polar Regions: Multiple and Diverse Impacts 223
  • The Political and Economic Stakes: Climate and Oil 225

Chapter 15 What We Must Do 227

  • Stabilizing the Greenhouse Effect: A True Challenge 228
  • The Kyoto Protocol: A First Step 230
  • The Bali Conference 234
  • Can the Challenge Be Met? 236
  • Copenhagen: Failure or Half-Success 238
  • A Necessary Adaptation 241
  • The "Grenelle de l'environnement" 242

PART FOUR THE POLES AND THE PLANET 245

Chapter 16 The Crucial Place of Research 247

  • A Short History of the Polar Years 249
  • The International Polar Year 2007-2009 251
  • Glacial Ice Coring: Ambitious Objectives 253
  • The Microbiology of Ice and Subglacial Lakes: Life in an Extreme Environment 255
  • Concordia: A Station Full of Promise 258

Chapter 17 Humans and the Rise of Pollution 261

  • The Story of Lead 262
  • Other Heavy Metals, Including Copper 264
  • Sulfates 266
  • Radioactivity 268
  • The Ozone Hole: An Emblematic Pollution 269
  • The Anthropocene and Greenhouse Gases 271

Conclusion: The Anthropocene Era 272
Notes 277
Selected Bibliography 289
Index 291

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