Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review - Field Notes from a Catastrophe, Man, Nature, and Climate Change, by Elizabeth Colbert.

It seems to me that the earth situation isn't quite a catastrophe yet, but it very well could be, and soon, if we don't correct the problems we've caused. The author claims that already since the late '70's we've been warned of the build-up of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere, and of the melting of polar ice and the drastic changes in our climate that will result. But despite the warnings, those dire effects are well underway…and she says that by the end of the 21st century the earth will likely be hotter than at any time in the last two million years!  And that the consequences of this will determine the course of life on earth for generations to come! We must learn the causes and how to correct them.

In fact, Kolbert says that already in the 1850's an Irish physicist named John Tyndall, in studying the gases in the atmosphere and their effects on the heat of the sun, came across what is now called the "natural greenhouse effect", which today is considered the cause of global warming and climate change.

Years ago, the author accompanied climate scientists to a resource station in Greenland, where scientists use a thermal auger to drill deep down through the ice sheet and extract "bores" of ice, that were compresses from the original snow, and that they discover snow that fell during the Civil War; even during the Pelonnesian Wars, (2,500 feet down) when cave painters painted,( 5,350 feet), and at the deepest, (10,000 feet), snow that fell on Greenland more than 100,000 years ago. When the fluffy snow melts it turn to ice, which when discovered in this fashion, reveals many ancient secrets.

Now in our age the ice of the Alaskan therma frost, and further south in the Greenland and South Pole's glaciers, is melting at a prodigious rate, and climate scientists having learned from the past, can predict into the future and warn us of future dangers, including fierce storms and even droughts, if we do not curb the growing carbon dioxide in our present and near future. Among all these ice discussion, this book has a chapter entitled "The Butterfly and the Toad," telling us of the effects of climate change on even the tiniest of our creation family's creatures. You would enjoy the book.

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