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Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery Paperback – 1 Jul 1986

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; New Ed edition (1 July 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674440757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674440753
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 14.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 439,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Such a full and interesting treatment of this subject was long overdue.

An absorbing account of one of the great quests of geologic science.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In case you haven't heard, scientists are very confident that they understand why the ice ages occurred. This book gives a layman's explanation of the evidence showing that ice ages were tiggered by changes in the amount of sunlight from changes in the earth's orbit and axis of rotation. The orbital and rotation changes are caused by the gravity of the other planets and the Moon, so you can say that the ice ages are just footnotes to the work of Isaac Newton!

John Imbrie was one of the leading scientists in that quest (co-author Katherine is his daughter.) The story is told historically, starting with Milankovitch, a Serbian engineer, who did laborious hand calculations showing how much the sunlight in the glacial regions changed, and also when. The evidence that clinched the case was obtained from cores of sediment extracted from the seabed. Chapters 10-16 are the heart of the book where they explain the obstacles the scientists faced, how they overcame them, and the tricks they used to put all the pieces together. It really is a first rate scientic detective story.

The book's main limitation is that it stops about 1977. That's a pity, because Milankovitch's sunlight changes are only half the story. The other part is the role that CO2 and other greenhouse gases played in amplifying the changes due to sunlight. So the study of ice ages and greenhouse gases has all sorts of implications for global warming. Geologists say that the present is the key to the past, well the past may be the key to our present and future.
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Format: Paperback
This book is excellent as an account of geological history regarding the climatic changes in the Earth up until around 1990s (publish date). Since then there have been major developments e.g. "tipping point", IPCC predictions etc. all of which aren't mentioned in this edition. Not up to date but a wonderful read that for anyone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
really fascinating book - lots about Milankovitch cycles - written before the arguments over anthropogenic climate change got emotional/irrational/religious/hateful. I'm no CC-denier, but I think lots of cc-catastrophists would do well to read this - Mr Monbiot eg?
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Quite and enjoyable, comprehensible and informative book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied. 21 Jan. 2017
By prince of nerds - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm looking for books that can ease me into the fields of palaeoclimatology, geology and the history of these disciplines; this one
served that purpose well; I found it informative and easy to read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Mystery is Solved! 24 July 2016
By Jim Grantz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very informative! The book shows why and how it took over 100 years to prove what was pretty obvious to the pioneers in this theory.
I love books that irrefutably settle puzzling questions on how the world came to be. Thanks to this accounting I can now scratch Ice-Ages from my list of unsolved questions. Certainly a fascinating read!
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy and Illuminating 9 April 2011
By Jonathan Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well-written fascinating story of the Ice Ages. Over the past several hundred years scientists have had to overcome cultural and religious prejudices to begin to understand that there has been glaciation and ice cover cyclically over the land masses and those cycles have something to do with variations in the sunlight striking the earth, as well as atmospheric and other phenomena. This book is relevant because we are witnessing anthropomorphic climate change. However, the prejudices against knowledge and discovery even from other scientists is timeless. Vested interests are there essentially egocentric rather than corporate (see Merchants of Doubt by Oreskes) but formidable nonetheless. The life stories of the scientists are fun to read. Sheds light on humanity, science and ice: Illuminating.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a very informative book 17 Jan. 2017
By JDH - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Got this for my daughter's book report project about the Ice Age. Unfortunately, this is mostly about the history of discovering there was an ice age, rather than anything about the ice age itself.
5.0 out of 5 stars Super reading! 14 Jan. 2017
By Elenor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really well done! I've been studying all the various current research on Ice Ages -- and this provides an excellent "where it all began" story; really helps ground current research!
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