A World Without Ice

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Overview

A cowinner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize offers a clear-eyed explanation of the planet's imperiled ice.

Much has been written about global warming, but the crucial relationship between people and ice has received little focus-until now. As one of the world's leading experts on climate change, Henry Pollack provides an accessible, comprehensive survey of ice as a force of nature and the potential consequences as we face the possibility of a ...

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Overview

A cowinner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize offers a clear-eyed explanation of the planet's imperiled ice.

Much has been written about global warming, but the crucial relationship between people and ice has received little focus-until now. As one of the world's leading experts on climate change, Henry Pollack provides an accessible, comprehensive survey of ice as a force of nature and the potential consequences as we face the possibility of a world without ice.

A World Without Ice traces the effect of mountain glaciers on supplies of drinking water and agricultural irrigation, as well as the current results of melting permafrost and shrinking Arctic sea ice-a situation that has degraded the habitat of numerous animals and sparked an international race for seabed oil and minerals. Catastrophic possibilities loom, including rising sea levels and subsequent flooding of low-lying regions worldwide. A World Without Ice answers our most urgent questions about this pending crisis, laying out the necessary steps for managing the unavoidable and avoiding the unmanageable.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this outstanding book, Pollack, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with his colleagues on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former vice president Al Gore, explains the role that ice, especially polar ice, plays in the world's climate systems and describes the effects of a warming climate on the polar and high-altitude ice storehouses. Then he discusses how the environment is dramatically impacted as the rate of melting accelerates. Pollack also highlights how three centuries of human activity and industrialization have upset this delicate balance between ice and climate. He includes possible methods by which we can slow global warming or mitigate its effects on humanity and other animals. VERDICT Seldom has a scientist written so well and so clearly for the lay reader. Pollack's explanations of how researchers can tell that the climate is warming faster than normal are free of the usual scientific jargon and understandable. All readers concerned about global warming and students writing papers on the topic will want this excellent and important volume.—Betty Galbraith, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman
Kirkus Reviews
An entertaining pop-science examination of yet another part of the world we take for granted. Pollack (Geophysics/Univ. of Michigan; Uncertain Science . . . Uncertain World, 2003), who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, delivers a lucid review of ice's unique qualities, its role in geological and human history and why it's disappearing from Earth's glaciers and polar regions. Ice forms the planet's second largest reservoir of water. The ocean contains 96 percent, while ice contains a little more than three percent. This may sound trivial, but if all of today's ice melted, the oceans would rise 250 feet. Unfortunately, writes Pollack, this is already happening at an alarming rate. Although the media rightly blame the greenhouse effect, the implication that it's a new phenomenon is incorrect. In fact, life would never have arisen without it-99 percent of atmospheric gases (nitrogen and oxygen) allow sunlight to pass in and out. If no other gas existed, the earth would be 70 degrees colder and frozen solid. Luckily, for billions of years, tiny amounts of "greenhouse gases"-today mostly carbon dioxide-absorb some reflected sunlight and warm the planet. Natural processes such as volcano eruptions, erosion and photosynthesis have varied the concentration of greenhouse gases and thus the earth's climate. Pollack asserts that human activity-burning fossil fuels, clearing forests, agribusiness-became the principle source of greenhouse gases 50 years ago, pushing levels to the highest in recorded history, with no end in sight. Without drastic action, he says, the consequences, even beyond the threat of drastically rising sea levels, will be dire: "more severe droughts, increasinglyviolent storms, the spread of disease, the loss of crops, disappearing wildlife and politically destabilizing tides of climate refugees."A clear, engaging review of a disturbing environmental pattern. Agent: Gillian MacKenzie/Gillian MacKenzie Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583334072
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 964,744
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Pollack, PhD, and his colleagues on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Core. Pollack has been a professor of geophysics at the University of Michigan for more than forty years and now serves as a science adviser to Al Gore's Climate Project training programs. Also the author of Uncertain Science…Uncertain World, he lives in Ann Arbor.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Al Gore vi

Preface x

Chapter 1 Discovering Ice 1

Chapter 2 Ice And Life: On Earth and Beyond 35

Chapter 3 When Ice Ruled the World 67

Chapter 4 Warming Up 97

Chapter 5 Nature at Work 133

Chapter 6 Human Footprints 151

Chapter 7 Melting Ice, Rising Seas 191

Chapter 8 Choices Amid Change 231

Afterword 276

Acknowledgments 281

Index 284

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 14, 2010

    A Climate Change Handbook

    Dr. Pollack is Professor of Geophysics at the University of Michigan, a member of the IPCC and an advisor to Al Gore's Climate Project. In this book he presents a concise and easy to understand explanation of the many forces that are at work on Earth that are causing global warming. He cautions that we have little time left to make changes in human activities to avoid the worst possible catastrophes that are inevitable if we simply continue on our current course. But, there is still time to make a difference.
    I have had an interest in this subject for a long time, and there is a lot in this book that I was already aware of. But, there is also a huge amount of information that I had not yet come across and that was completely new to me. Despite the wealth of facts included, I am still left with many questions about the causes and particularly the effects of global warming.
    Anyone who needs ammunition to use in discussions with deniers of climate change, or deniers of the effect of human activity on climate change, should read this book. The case he makes is compelling and hard to dispute.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2014

    High stump

    Here!

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    Posted January 1, 2010

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    Posted May 5, 2011

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    Posted August 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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