From Publishers Weekly
A member of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, Univ. of Mich. geophysicist Pollack (Uncertain Science) shares the warning call of Al Gore (his co-recipient), that "humanity has arrived at an historic moment of decision." According to science, Pollack explains, humanity may soon lose the polar ice caps altogether, with dire consequences. Pollack explains how glacial ice is "a major player" in the climate: snow and ice "account for much of the sunshine reflected from the surface" and their disappearance will only accelerate the rate of global warming. Using geological evidence (800 bore-holes drilled on the earth's continental crust), Pollack and his colleagues have established that the past 500 years have seen a 2-degree increase in the Earth's average temperature, and that "fully half of the warming occurred in the 20th century." While taking account of countervailing forces (like periodic variations in the earth's orbit, explosive volcanism, and changes in solar radiation) Pollack shows that no single natural force can reverse the present trend, which if unchecked will render the Earth uninhabitable. This important wake up call joins a rapidly growing selection; this volume distinguishes itself with a Nobel pedigree and a sound, straightforward approach.
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"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