Thin Ice

Genre: Science and Technology, Nonfiction; Author: Mark Bowen; Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

It’s a strange thing that the best data in support of global warming comes from our planet’s coldest places: deep in the polar ice caps and, as we learn here, the icy slopes of tall mountain peaks. Working in the thin air of Tibet and Peru (and various lofty points in between), paleoclimatologist Lonnie Thompson and a team of assistants spent weeks collecting core samples in the ”death zone,” the brutal real estate above 18,000 feet where even seasoned climbers cautiously tread. Mark Bowen, an MIT-trained physicist and accomplished mountaineer, does a fine job explaining the science of climatology and presents a vivid picture of how high-stakes research intersects with high-risk adventure in Thin Ice.

Originally posted November 16 2005 — 12:00 AM EST

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