The melting world A journey across America's vanishing glaciers

Christopher P. White, 1956-

Book - 2013

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New York, N.Y. : St. Martin's Press 2013.
First edition
Physical Description
272 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages [259]-268).
Main Author
Christopher P. White, 1956- (-)
  • Year one : Into the cirque
  • Years two & three : Through the looking glass
  • Year four, week one : The falcon and the falconer
  • Year four, week two : The cascade effect
  • Year four, week three : Fire and ice
  • Year four, week four : Things fall apart
  • Year four, week five : A thousand words
  • Year five, epilogue : The widening gyre.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Whenever global warming and rising sea levels are mentioned in the same breath, the presumed source of the extra water is usually the polar ice caps. Yet according to nature writer and frequent National Geographic contributor White, melting mountaintop snow and ice will have just as much of an impact on environmental decline as shrinking coastlines. In the late summer of 2008, White joined a team of government-funded ecologists, led by veteran earth scientist Dan Fagre, to chart the rapid disappearance of alpine ice in Montana's Glacier National Park. Here White eloquently describes the scores of breathtaking views he enjoyed during his five seasons with Fagre, even as the team grappled with many disturbing findings. He also makes it soberly clear just how fully fresh water reserves, fish habitats, and healthy forests depend on melting glacier runoff. White's account is both an urgent wake-up call to nations across the globe that share responsibility for climate change and a heartbreaking elegy to a vital component of Earth's ecology that may soon be gone forever. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The ice sheets in Montana's Glacier National Park are melting at an alarming rate, endangering the fragile alpine ecosystem and providing graphic evidence of the environmental impact of global warming. Writer and naturalist White (Skipjack: The Story of America's Last Sailing Oystermen) recounts the expeditions and findings of climate scientist Dan Fagre and his colleagues, whose often dangerous long-term research documenting these rapidly shrinking glaciers shines a harsh spotlight on the damage rising temperatures are causing to conditions necessary for the survival of species such as cutthroat trout, lynx, grizzly bear, and pika. Having accompanied these scientists over several years, White offers a compelling glimpse into both the practical difficulties and the value of their rigorous scientific documentation of a changing environment. VERDICT White's meditative, richly descriptive lament for Montana's endangered wilderness raises hard questions about the consequences of inaction on climate change. While his meandering and occasionally tangential writing style sometimes lacks narrative focus, his enthusiasm and eloquence in depicting the magnificence of the imperiled natural wonders of Glacier National Park and the dedication of the intrepid scientists studying its decline make for moving reading. Best suited to recreational readers interested in global warming, glaciers, or nature writing, who may also consider Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change.—Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI [Page 103]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The author of Skipjack documents concerning evidence of adverse climate change in the Rocky Mountains, where climate scientist and ecologist Dan Fagre reveals how a rapid decline of alpine glaciers is threatening the mountain ecosystem.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Documents concerning evidence of adverse climate change in the Rocky Mountains, where climate scientist and ecologist Dan Fagre reveals how a rapid decline of alpine glaciers is threatening the mountain ecosystem.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Global warming usually seems to happen far away, but one catastrophic effect of climate change is underway right now in the Rocky Mountains. In The Melting World, Chris White travels to Montana to chronicle the work of Dan Fagre, a climate scientist and ecologist, whose work shows that alpine glaciers are vanishing rapidly close to home. For years, Fagre has monitored the ice sheets in Glacier National Park proving that they—and by extension all Rocky Mountain ice—will melt far faster than previously imagined. How long will the ice fields survive? What are the consequences on our environment? The Melting World chronicles the first extinction of a mountain ecosystem in what is expected to be a series of such global calamities as humanity faces the prospect of a world without alpine ice.