A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic

For almost five decades, Peter Wadhams has been studying the way the ice at both poles has been changing. What he reveals in A Farewell to Ice is a chilling view of how much influence humankind has had on the steady disappearance of polar ice and what that will mean for all living things on the planet as it continues to vanish. This highly scientific and heavily researched treatise leads readers through the ways in which polar ice forms and dissolves. Furthermore, it covers the earth's glaciation history and discusses the current theory that the steady rise in greenhouse gases will effectively knock the earth out of its normal cycle, creating a progressively warmer planet--one with no ice at the North Pole.

Wadhams analyzes numerous terrible scenarios: what might happen if an oil spill occurs due to drilling under the Arctic ice cap; the effect melting ice will have on rising sea levels, ocean acidification and the release of trapped methane gas; and a host of other issues that will certainly affect millions of people worldwide. His calm and informed tone throughout, however, backed by data and his own observations, takes what some could claim is a Hollywood apocalypse scenario and makes it very real and plausible. He leaves readers with the knowledge that it's not if these events will take place, but when--with changes apparent from the present day and beyond. Fortunately, Wadhams offers some possible solutions, but they would be effective only if people take immediate action to stop the melting of polar ice. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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