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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not like the cubes in your fridge, 19 Feb 2004
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future (Paperback)
Alley joins the growing number of field scientists relating their experiences and the research performed by them. In his case the field is the top of the Greenland Ice Cap. The research is the study of ice patterns stretching back over 100 000 years. What do these patterns tell us? Need we care? He explains detail with clarity and detail how the research is done, and describes what has been revealed by it. What those finds tells us of the past, present and might mean in the future become the remainder of the book. One thing stands out vividly - climate not only varies more than we believe, it changes far more rapidly than we expected.
The Greenland Ice Cap bears an astonishingly detailed record of environmental events. Far more than simply packed snow, this massive archive keeps information about distant volcanic events, how much salt is in the sea water and what kind of winds played over the Earth's surface. Even conditions in distant Asia are recorded here in the dust layered within the ice. There are records of long periods of cold and announcements about continental drifting. Alley explains all the elements that must be examined in the layered ice, how they came about and why they occurred. Earth's solar orbit, its tilting angle to the sun, and the slow precessional rotation of the poles. All these motions are further complicated by oceanic currents, wind patterns and humidity levels. Alley describes tracking some of the variations as "following a roller-coaster with a man bouncing on a bungee cord while spinning a yo-yo". It's a dizzying picture and he's quick to point out that many points remain unexplained.
Is this an issue that should concern us? Human history from the onset of agriculture has been a period of unusual stability. The future, Alley tells us, is highly uncertain. The only certainty is that climate will change - it must. Global warming is a fact, not a supposition, he asserts. One result of it will be the addition of fresh water into the "conveyor belt" of oceanic water exchange. The North Atlantic is the key site. Interruption of that exchange by extra meltwater from North America will intrude - chilling northern Europe. Human populations will be affected differently in various places. There will be winners and losers in this situation, but the losers will certainly outnumber the winners. How severe will the changes be? "I don't know". How fast will the changes come about? "I don't know". His lack of knowledge doesn't stem from lack of effort. He reminds us that the information gleaned from Greenland is still new. There's much to learn and do. He calls to us: "Send us your brightest students to help, and cheer them on!". A good piece of advice, but not one likely to be taken by a people choosing business instead of science. And that, if Alley's use of "English" measurements and reversed diagrams, will be limited to those comfortable with such practices. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book that delivers quite a few surprises., 21 Nov 2000
By 
R. Higgins (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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So you thought that Global Warming was all about warming did you? Wrong! You thought that John Prescott wading through homes in Yorkshire was a nasty sign of what could happen to you as the world warms up? Well, yes, pretty nasty but it could even get worse!
The Two Mile Machine is an examination of the Greenland ice core and the book now stands at the forefront of climate research. The ice reveals that our climate is far more volatile that we ever imagined. Extreme cooling and extreme warming has been part and parcel of the earth's climate for millions of years but the really surprising result of this research is that these coolings and warmings can be extrememly rapid. They can take place in even less than a decade.
The book shows that one of the main keys to this rapid change in the climate is the Atlantic ocean. Not to spoil the plot but, in brief, as the world gets warmer the warm water flowing up from the tropics is halted because fresh melted water from the ice sheets stop what is known as 'the conveyor'. The author explains terminology very well for the non-expert and uses very appropriate examples from everyday life. This is a book for the non-scientist.
The author explains very carefully that the surprising result of Global Warming, however caused, could be a drastic change in the climate of the Northern Hemisphere with a mini or major cooling down.
This book is not science fiction but new science fact and suddenly delivers a very different perspective to the current enviromental debate.
So if you thought that the prospect of John Prescott wading through your house was bad enough, what about a polar bear or two?
Well worth a read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Two Mile Time-Machine, 26 Mar 2009
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This review is from: The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future (Paperback)
At a time when there is a great deal of media interest in the possibility of abrupt climate change it is refreshing to come across an informative book that is accessible to the non-specialist. It makes excellent background reading based on solid scientific evidence and contains enough technical information to interest anyone who wants to study the subject in more depth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT <3, 23 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future (Paperback)
Such a great book, couldn't put it down and have re-read it already, very interesting!
Book was in great condition, arrived in good time and is great value for money, I would recommend to anyone interested in science or a love of nature and learning!
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