Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places

Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places

by Bill Streever
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Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places by Bill Streever

From avalanches to glaciers and seals to snowflakes, from igloos to icebergs, permafrost to hoarfrost, and from Shackleton's expedition to "The Year Without Summer", Bill Streever unearths the consistent, ongoing influence of cold on our culture and our planet. Evoking history, myth, geography, and ecology, Streever is a wondrous guide. He explores the hibernation habits of animals, describes how refrigeration has evolved, and takes a dip in an Arctic swimming hole. He conjures woolly mammoths out of the peaks of melting glaciers and evokes blizzards so wild that readers may freeze-limb by vicarious limb.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316042925
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/19/2010
Pages: 291
Sales rank: 867,657
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Bill Streever chairs the North Slope Science Initiative's Science Technical Advisory Panel in Alaska and serves on many related committees, including a climate change advisory panel. A biologist, he lives with his son in Anchorage, where he hikes, bikes, camps, scuba dives, and cross country skies, as often as the weather allows.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xiv

Preface xv

July: Explorers, victims of cold, and immersion in thirty-five-degree water north of the Arctic Circle 3

August: A tunnel in ground frozen for forty thousand years, landscapes changing as temperatures rise, and animals harmed warmth 28

September: The Little Ice Age, the Pleistocene Ice Age, and the ancient ice age of Snowball Earth, when the entire planet was veiled in ice 50

October: Animals coping with cold, migrating by the millions, and hibernating with body temperatures below freezing 75

November: Skis and skiing, a trail closed by a late-season bear, and freezing trees releasing a burst of heat and flushing the fluid from their cells 94

December: Overheating in the depths of winter, shadows of Weddell seals in the sea ice, and Japanese ama divers in water cold enough to kill most humans 114

January: Weather patterns that cause frigid conditions, medieval weather forecasters burning at the stake, and a frozen ocean 136

February: Plummeting temperatures, the cooling of Westminster Abbey, and approaching absolute zero and the death of matter 156

March: A search for polar bear dens near forty below zero, winter apparel, igloos, quinzhees, and a house instrumented to measure cold 175

April: Frost-heaved roads, broken pipes, crops destroyed by frost, and 143 caribou killed by an avalanche 191

May: The end of the Pleistocene Ice Age, rising sea levels, howling winds, receding glaciers, and mammoth carcasses in thawing ground 208

June: Fourier's greenhouse effect, Revelle's geophysical experiment, debating science, and the melting Beaufort Sea 227

Maps 244

Acknowledgments 247

Notes, with a Few References, Definitions, Clarifications, and Suggested Readings 249

Index 285

Readindg Group Guide 293

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Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Dr_FeelGood More than 1 year ago
Easy read, but pretty informative and entertaining. Highly recommend it to people who enjoy winter and cold temperatures, obviously. Gives general history of cold events, like chemical air conditioners and info on frozen wooly mammoths, and some basics on winter ecology. As mentioned several times in this book, anyone who is interested in cold-weather life needs to read 'Winter World' by Bernd Heinrich.
MDLAK More than 1 year ago
This book brings the northern climate and its effect on animals, plants, humans and history into the hands of the reader. A comprehensive look into what those of us in the north live with. History, geology, anthropology and storytelling bound together in a most readable and enjoyable story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was poorly organized and repetitive. It needed a more disciplined and demanding editorial hand. It contains lots of facts but has no compelling narrative and only an artificial structure.
ChickadeeCC More than 1 year ago
Very interesting book. I enjoyed the way the author blended arctic history, natural history and culture. I especially enjoyed when he mentioned how extreme cold affects people, animals, buildings, cars and the like.
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JamJB More than 1 year ago
Filled with arcane information, this lovely, lyrical book takes you all over the world and makes you feel the physical presence of each site. The author seems to know just about everything there is to know about COLD, from the scientific to the anecdotal, and he brings all of his knowledge to bear. He is also willing to share what seems like a lack of compassion or at least a lack of empathy as he tells you of his scientific observations of a friend losing the feeling in her hands...or telling you how he got a London taxi driver to be still. This is the kind of book you can open anywhere, and enjoy what's there. What you remember will be what you bring with you and how his verse relates to your thoughts.
kaycashman More than 1 year ago
Author Bill Streever, who chairs the North Slope Science Initiative's Science Technical Advisory Panel, structured Cold with a chapter for every month starting with July. He opens each with an account of his own experience. Here are a few excerpts from a review of Cold I wrote for Petroleum News: Streever is the science teacher we all want for our children; a guide who introduces them to the natural world, enticing them away from video games, I-Pods and cell phones. Unfortunately, Bill Streever is not a teacher, but as an author who brings alive the magic of planet Earth's past, present and future, he's the next best thing. .... Polar explorers, Streever says in the first chapter, are "great keepers of journals . whose history becomes one long accident report mixed with one long obituary," the details of which he repeatedly shares with us. In the first chapter, which opens 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle, with the author taking a five minute plunge into the Beaufort Sea, we learn about Dutch navigator Vitus Bering. In 1741, "several hundred miles southwest" of where Streever is standing ... Bering "lay down in the sand and died of scurvy and exposure, while his men, immobilized by scurvy, cold, and fear, became food for arctic foxes. "Some accounts," Streever writes, "hold that Bering spent his last moments listening to the screams and moans of his dying men." While we are contemplating the horrible deaths of Bering and his men, Streever throws in a geography lesson - the Bering Sea that separates Alaska and Russia, and the island where Bering died, "nestled on the international date line," were both named after him. Turn the page and we discover that frogs, whose northernmost limit is about five hundred miles south of Streever's bathing spot, overwinter in a frozen state, "amphibian popsicles in the mud. Frogsicles," he calls them. .... A lesson-bite in the history of measuring temperature becomes more interesting when you learn that Daniel Fahrenheit's invention of the mercury thermometer was "modified by the likes of Galileo, who used wine instead of mercury." Streever's example of the year following the eruption of Mount Tambora ... in Indonesia in 1815 fixes the destructive nature of volcanic eruptions firmly in a reader's memory. Volcanic dust in earth's atmosphere acts like a translucent shade on a window, blocking the sun's rays, he writes. Decreased warmth from the sun changes wind and current movements in the Northern Hemisphere.... "The laconic farmers of New England" referred to the year simply as "Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.".... The cold and resultant crop failures around the globe . made horses too expensive ... leading to the invention of what would become the bicycle. Mary Shelley "was holed up in Lord Byron's lakeside retreat near Geneva in the summer of 1816." The weather, more than a year after Tamura's eruption, "kept Byron's guests indoors. . He challenged them to come up with ghost stories. Shelley came up with Frankenstein. ... The popular impression of the novel today is based on movies that share only a name and a monster with the book," but Streever tells readers that Shelley's novel "starts with letters from an Arctic explorer," who "spots a dogsled pulling a strange creature, the living thing mysteriously created by Dr. Frankenstein," who dies on the boat. The creature ... "leaps through a cabin window, landing on an ice floe, and drifts off into
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TimHanko More than 1 year ago
I almost made it through the preface before I tired of the global warming rant. What utter garbage.