A World Without Ice Book Summary - A World Without Ice Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

A World Without Ice summary

Henry Pollack

What happens if climate change takes its course

4.3 (24 ratings)
16 mins
Table of Contents

    A World Without Ice
    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    Not quite twins: the Arctic and the Antarctic are rather different.

    In 1768, young English naval officer James Cook was assigned the position of captain on the search for Terra Australis Incognita. This was rather daunting, given that some didn’t believe that this southern continent existed at all.

    Ancient Greek philosophical writings show the first arguments for the existence of a landmass in the southern hemisphere matching those in the north, for reasons of symmetry. But it wasn’t a mass of land that Cook first discovered. It was a mass of ice.

    Given that Earth has masses of ice at the North and South Poles, the Greeks were right about the planet’s symmetry. But even though the poles might seem rather similar, they actually have very little in common.

    The South Pole is located in the continent of Antarctica, around 850 miles inland from the nearest coastline. The North Pole, on the other hand, is located in the waters of the Arctic Ocean, around 450 miles away from the nearest landmass. Both poles are set in ice, but in varying ways. The South Pole lies below more than 10,000 feet of ice, while the North Pole floats on top of a relatively thin 10- to 20-foot sheet of frozen ocean water.

    The ice in both polar regions is constantly shifting, but at very different rates. The South Pole’s ice masses move at a pace of 30 to 40 feet each year. At the North Pole, by contrast, the ice averages a speed of three to four miles each day.

    These differences aside, humans have found the North and South Poles equally fascinating throughout history. Explorers, adventurers, whalers, sealers, scientists and soldiers have all made their way to the poles. Today huge numbers of tourists also journey to the Arctic and Antarctic. Arctic tours offer excursions to glaciers and wildlife tours where people can observe reindeer, walrus and polar bears in their natural habitat. Penguins are one of the main attractions in the Antarctic, with some 45,000 tourists heading south each year to experience these marine birds firsthand.

    So should we be concerned for the safety of Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems given the rise of tourism at the poles? Actually, it only poses a marginal risk. Because what really damages the poles is what we do at home.

    Want to see all full key ideas from A World Without Ice?

    Key ideas in A World Without Ice

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is A World Without Ice about?

    A World Without Ice (2009) is about our planet, its climate, its human residents – and ice. Ice has always been a major player in Earth’s climate. These blinks explain why we may soon see a world without ice, why that would have dramatic consequences for Earth and humans alike, and how we can cope with climate change.

    Best quote from A World Without Ice

    Icebergs are to the polar imagination what cloud forms are to people elsewhere.

    —Henry Pollack
    example alt text

    Who should read A World Without Ice?

    • Anyone hoping for a sustainable future on Earth
    • Anyone interested in polar ice, icebergs, glacial ice and snow
    • Anyone interested in geology or politics

    About the Author

    Henry Pollack is a professor of geophysics at the University of Michigan. Together with his colleagues on the International Panel on Climate Change and former vice president Al Gore, he won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Pollack travels regularly to Antarctica and has conducted scientific research on all seven continents. He also the author of Uncertain Science. . . Uncertain World.

    Categories with A World Without Ice

    Books like A World Without Ice

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    27 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial