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The idea guiding Thompson's research is deceptively simple: climate is about energy flow, and because the sun's heat enters the atmosphere at the lower latitudes of the tropics, it follows that the equator's mountain glaciers ...
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The idea guiding Thompson's research is deceptively simple: climate is about energy flow, and because the sun's heat enters the atmosphere at the lower latitudes of the tropics, it follows that the equator's mountain glaciers are the ideal place from which to map the course of climate change. Layers of snow that have been laid down year by year can be read like tree rings, providing detailed information about climate history reaching back 750,000 years. The trick is to come up with a safe and reliable method for retrieving and preserving ice cores while living and working for weeks, sometimes months, in what mountaineers call the "death zone," the environment above eighteen thousand feet. Thompson has done just that, and to gather significant data he has spent more time in the death zone than any man who has ever lived. As explorer and expedition leader, Lonnie Thompson occupies that narrow perch on adventure's summit alongside Ernest Shackleton.
Scientist and expert climber Mark Bowen joined Thompson's crew on several expeditions, including an eye-opening ascent in East Africa that revealed why the snows of Kilimanjaro will be gone in fifteen years. Bowen also includes an account of the dangerous Huascarán ascent where Thompson's discovery of an unknown type of glacial ice revealed how pieces of the global climate puzzle fit together. Bowen also takes up deep inside retreating glaciers from China and the Tibetan Plateau across South America's Andes and to Africa.
Thin Ice explains what Thompson's hard-won data tell us about climate systems that have long perplexed the scientific community. Even more important, we learn what the equatorial ice reveals about global warming and the earth's probably future.
Excerpted from Thin Ice by Bowen, Mark Copyright © 2006 by Bowen, Mark. Excerpted by permission.
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|Prologue : a call from the blue||1|
|Pt. I||The Sajama expedition|
|Pt. II||Early days|
|Pt. III||The warming sets in|
|Pt. IV||The essence of life|
|Pt. V||More pieces for the puzzle|
Posted July 8, 2008
Part mountaineering narrative, part primer on climatology, this book tells the tale of a ruggedly independent scientist who bucked the scientific establishment of the time in the search of knowledge. The scientists featured in this book lived and worked on the summits of peaks that other mountaineers would only spend hours or days on. The book is written by a scientist and the language gets a little thick for a layman (like myself), but the work required to understand these sections is rewarded with a more nuanced understanding of climatology.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 20, 2006
I bought this book hoping to learn about global warming and tropical glaciers. Instead the book focused on the social histories of scientists. Being in the medical field I have some scientific background, but the science was poorly explained and did not help me to learn. The scientists themselves were not presented as interesting, multi dimensional people. His descriptions of the locations were good, but too brief to carry the book. Local people were barely acknowledged. This book was a waste of my time and money, unfortunately. This is a book for climatologist insiders.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 25, 2009
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