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Paul A. Mayewski - The Ice Chronicles: The Quest to Understand Global Climate Change

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The Ice Chronicles: The Quest to Understand Global Climate Change
Author: Paul A. Mayewski
Publisher: University Press of New England

The Ice Chronicles tells the story behind GISP2, and its product 100,000 years of climate history. These amazing frozen records document major environmental events such as volcanoes and forest fires. They also reveal the dramatic influence that humans have had on the chemistry of the atmosphere and climate change through major additions of greenhouse gases, acid rain, and stratospheric ozone depletion. Perhaps the most startling new information gleaned from these records is the knowledge that natural climate is far from stable; quite the opposite-major, fast changes in climate are found throughout the record. It now appears that Earth's climate changes dramatically every few thousand years, often within the span of a decade. Data gathered through ice core analysis challenge traditional assumptions of how climate operates. Further, the authors show that climate conditions over the past several thousand years, which we take for granted as normal, may in fact be significantly different from that in the previous 100,000 years. New data suggest that relatively balmy conditions allowing the flowering of human civilization since the last Ice Age are not the norm for the last few hundred thousand years. Yet despite the apparent mild state of climate for the last 10,000 years there have still been changes sufficient to contribute substantially to the course of civilization. We live in a changing climate that could under certain circumstances change even more dramatically

Author Information: Paul Mayewski has led more than 30 scientific expeditions to the Antarctic (where a peak is named for him and where he explored uncharted territories), the Arctic (where he led fellow scientists in the recovery of a 250,000 year long record of climate change), the Himalayas (where he led the first scientific expedition into the glaciers of interior Ladakh since the early 20th century) and the Tibetan Plateau. He is the Field Leader of the US ITASE expedition and a professor at the University of Maine.

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