Ice rivers A story of glaciers, wilderness, and humanity

Jemma L. Wadham

Book - 2021

"The ice sheets and glaciers that cover one-tenth of Earth's land surface are in grave peril. High in the Alps, Andes, and Himalaya, once-indomitable glaciers are retreating, even dying. Meanwhile, in Antarctica, thinning glaciers may be unlocking vast quantities of methane stored for millions of years beneath the ice. In Ice Rivers, renowned glaciologist Jemma Wadham offers a searing personal account of glaciers and the rapidly unfolding crisis that they--and we--face. Taking readers on a personal journey from Europe and Asia to Antarctica and South America, Wadham introduces majestic glaciers around the globe as individuals--even friends--each with their own unique character and place in their community. She challenges their appearance as silent, passive, and lifeless, and reveals that glaciers are, in fact, as alive as a forest or soil, teeming with microbial life and deeply connected to almost everything we know. They influence crucial systems on which people depend, from lucrative fisheries to fertile croplands, and represent some of the most sensitive and dynamic parts of our world. Their fate is inescapably entwined with our own, and unless we act to abate the greenhouse warming of our planet the potential consequences are almost unfathomable. A riveting blend of cutting-edge research and tales of encounters with polar bears and survival under the midnight sun, Ice Rivers is an unforgettable portrait of--and love letter to--our vanishing icy wildernesses."--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 551.312/Wadham Checked In
Princeton : Princeton University Press 2021.
Main Author
Jemma L. Wadham (author)
Item Description
Originally published: London : Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2021.
Physical Description
xv, 219 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), map ; 23 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 199-218).
  • Introduction: Icy Beginnings
  • Part 1. The Smell of the Ice
  • 1. Glimpses of an Underworld: The Swiss Alps
  • 2. Bears, Bears Everywhere: Svalbard
  • Part 2. The Great Ice Sheets
  • 3. Plumbing the Depths: Greenland
  • 4. Life at the Extremes: Antarctica
  • Part 3. In The Shadow of Glaciers
  • 5. Beware of the GLOF!: Patagonia
  • 6. White Rivers Running Dry: The Indian Himalaya
  • 7. The Last Ice: The Cordillera Blanca
  • Afterword: A Fork in the Path
  • A Glacial Glossary
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgements
  • Picture Credits
Review by Choice Review

This compelling autobiographical text by Wadham (glaciology, Univ. of Bristol) takes a uniquely personal approach to introducing readers to glaciers, glacier loss, and the importance of these "ice rivers" to the world. The narrative follows her as she travels to remote places in Europe and to Antarctica documenting the ecological roles that glaciers play in sustaining imperiled natural habitats as well as the world's agriculture and fishing industries. Wadham presents a thoughtful and intimate exploration of the important relationship glaciers have with the planet and, by extension, with humanity as people confront the damaging realities of global climate change. The book is an easy read, demonstrating Wadham's commitment to making her topic accessible for nonscientists. She accomplishes this through masterful employment of a reflective personal writing style, focusing on interactions with the people she meets during her travels, and by describing her research in a remarkably relatable way. She concludes with a helpful glossary and a selection of photographic illustrations for reference. A broad audience will welcome this book, but those interested in glaciers and climate change will receive it most enthusiastically. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. --Wil Weston, San Diego State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.