Magazine article Geographical

A Farewell to Ice

Magazine article Geographical

A Farewell to Ice

Article excerpt

A FAREWELL TO ICE

by Peter Wadhams; Allen Lane; 20 [pounds sterling] (hardback)

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'By the time this book is published it is possible--and, according to many predictions, likely--that the [North] Pole itself will be uncovered for the first time in tens of thousands of years.' That this will be a practical catastrophe for mankind, resulting in an acceleration in the rate of global warming, is perhaps obvious, but Wadhams' observation that this will also be a spiritual impoverishment of the Earth is less expected. He begins with the science, examining the properties of ice and the cycles of the various ice ages throughout history, leading up to what has been called the Anthropocene era; the current one, in which the species Homo sapiens 'is making a significant observable impact' on the environment. One possible result of this impact is that the Earth is now too warm to sustain periodic glaciations. There are those who argue that this is a good thing: modern civilisation, after all, came about during the intervals between ice ages. …

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