"In a world where everything frozen is now melting, we should barely need a book to get our attention. But clearly we do, and this is the book-a thorough reminder of what it means to live in a planet with poles and glaciers, and what it will be like without them."
-Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org and author of the national bestseller Deep Economy
"Skiers rejoice when snow falls and Inuit hunters welcome sea ice, while commuters find winter storms an inconvenience. Henry Pollack has a much broader view. Speaking eloquently, forcefully, yet lyrically, he explains how snow and ice are the clockworks of our planet. A World Without Ice is a fascinating, scary, but informative portrait of Earth's delicate climate balance and the thresholds we are staring across."
-Jon Turk, author of The Raven's Gift
"The work of Dr. Pollack and the IPCC in bringing attention to the very serious dangers posed by climate change has been justly praised. This book shows how essential ice-caps and glaciers are. It is a welcome contribution to planetary conservation."
-Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and author of The Challenge For Africa
"A World Without Ice is part a history of ice on Earth, part a scientist's love song to his subject, and part an unsentimental eulogy to ice...The book offers a great opportunity for the novice to dip into climate science first-hand."
-San Francisco Chronicle
"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."
-Betty Galbraith, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman; Library Journal, starred review
"Pollack, a geophysicist with the admirable ability to communicate in a language other than math, presents the stark facts of today's [climate] situation and offers careful descriptions of the likelihood of a frightening future, should earth's climate continue to change. . . . But he also offers some realistic hope that catastrophes may be mitigated, if not avoided."
-Patricia Monaghan, Booklist, starred review
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
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