A World Without Ice Book Summary - A World Without Ice Book explained in key points
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A World Without Ice summary

Henry Pollack

What happens if climate change takes its course

4.2 (29 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

A World Without Ice by Henry Pollack explains the crucial role ice plays in regulating the Earth’s climate. It discusses the impact of global warming on ice caps, sea levels, and aquatic ecosystems and urges for collective action against climate change.

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    A World Without Ice
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    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.

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    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.

    A World Without Ice Review

    A World Without Ice (2009) by Henry Pollack explores the potential consequences of a world without ice and why it should concern us all. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • Through thought-provoking scientific research, it sheds light on the critical role that ice plays in our climate system and how its loss can impact the planet.
    • By presenting compelling evidence and real-life examples, the book brings urgency to the issue of climate change, emphasizing the need for immediate action.
    • With its accessible language and engaging narratives, it keeps readers captivated, making the complex topic of ice and its implications both understandable and fascinating.

    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.

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    A World Without Ice FAQs 

    What is the main message of A World Without Ice?

    The main message of A World Without Ice is the urgency of addressing climate change to preserve our planet's ice and ensure a sustainable future.

    How long does it take to read A World Without Ice?

    The reading time for A World Without Ice varies depending on the reader. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is A World Without Ice a good book? Is it worth reading?

    A World Without Ice is a thought-provoking read that sheds light on the consequences of climate change. It is definitely worth reading for those interested in environmental issues.

    Who is the author of A World Without Ice?

    The author of A World Without Ice is Henry Pollack.

    What to read after A World Without Ice?

    If you're wondering what to read next after A World Without Ice, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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