Vanishing Ice

Glaciers, Ice Sheets, and Rising Seas

Vivien Gornitz

Columbia University Press

Vanishing Ice

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Pub Date: June 2019

ISBN: 9780231168243

400 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£27.00

Pub Date: June 2019

ISBN: 9780231548892

400 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£27.00

Vanishing Ice

Glaciers, Ice Sheets, and Rising Seas

Vivien Gornitz

Columbia University Press

The Arctic is thawing. In summer, cruise ships sail through the once ice-clogged Northwest Passage, lakes form on top of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and polar bears swim farther and farther in search of waning ice floes. At the opposite end of the world, floating Antarctic ice shelves are shrinking. Mountain glaciers are in retreat worldwide, unleashing flash floods and avalanches. We are on thin ice—and with melting permafrost’s potential to let loose still more greenhouse gases, these changes may be just the beginning.

Vanishing Ice is a powerful depiction of the dramatic transformation of the cryosphere—the world of ice and snow—and its consequences for the human world. Delving into the major components of the cryosphere, including ice sheets, valley glaciers, permafrost, and floating ice, Vivien Gornitz gives an up-to-date explanation of key current trends in the decline of ice mass. Drawing on a long-term perspective gained by examining changes in the cryosphere and corresponding variations in sea level over millions of years, she demonstrates the link between thawing ice and sea-level rise to point to the social and economic challenges on the horizon. Gornitz highlights the widespread repercussions of ice loss, which will affect countless people far removed from frozen regions, to explain why the big meltdown matters to us all. Written for all readers and students interested in the science of our changing climate, Vanishing Ice is an accessible and lucid warning of the coming thaw.
Anyone who wants a better understanding of the different parts of the cryosphere, the consequences of melting ice, and this aspect of climate change will find this book an invaluable resource. Suzanne B. O'Connell, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University
Vanishing Ice is an informative, engaging introduction to sea level rise and the total remake of the icy parts of our world already underway due to climate change. Few books about scientific topics are as accessible to novices and as informative to experts. Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Princeton University
Vanishing Ice brings readers to the cryosphere and its ongoing changes in a nuanced and informative fashion. Scientists as well as students and curious people alike will benefit from this fascinating book. Marco Tedesco, Lamont Research Professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
A cogent analysis of this systemic, human-driven catastrophe. Nature
The writing style is engaging and accessible. The book's focus is on how and why climate change is affecting the frozen world and society, but Gornitz also manages to convey some of the romanticism of polar exploration through her descriptions of beautiful glacial landscapes. Bethan Davies, American Scientist
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. Whither the Snows of Yesteryear?
2. Ice Afloat—Ice Shelves, Icebergs, and Sea Ice
3. Impermanent Permafrost
4. Darkening Mountains—Disappearing Glaciers
5. The Greenland Ice Sheet
6. Antarctica: The Giant Ice Locker
7. From Greenhouse to Icehouse
8. Return to the Greenhouse
9. The Importance of Ice
Appendix A. Anticipating Future Climate Change
Appendix B. Eyes in the Sky—Monitoring the Cryosphere from Above
Appendix C. Geologic Time Scale
Glossary
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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About the Author

Vivien Gornitz is a geologist and former special research scientist with the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Her books include Rising Seas: Past, Present, Future (Columbia, 2013).