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The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  119 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews

Richard Alley, one of the world's leading climate researchers, tells the fascinating history of global climate changes as revealed by reading the annual rings of ice from cores drilled in Greenland. In the 1990s he and his colleagues made headlines with the discovery that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years. Here Alley offers the first
Paperback, 229 pages
Published July 21st 2002 by Princeton University Press (first published 2000)
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Feb 15, 2014 Zanna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: environment, stem
This is a fascinating chronicle of the Earth's climate, as subtly encoded in two miles of Greenland ice. Alley describes his work and that of fellow climate historians with clarity and infectious enthusiasm, painting a vivid picture of a violently fluctuating and generally inhospitable planet currently coasting through a rare period of warmth and stability that has enabled a sensitive species like us to thrive.

Alley's work makes some valuable sense of the Byzantine complexity of our climate, but
Simon Clark
Jan 12, 2017 Simon Clark rated it it was ok
I'll be honest, I gave up on this book. Perhaps I've always approached it with the wrong attitude but I just never really got into it. Perhaps it's because I'm already familiar with a lot of the science covered, or perhaps it's covered in very dry detail, but I just didn't get a huge amount out of the book.

If you're interested in the science of how ice can yield a record of past climate, or you're interested in the science of glaciers more generally, then this could be for you. Not one that I wi
Jun 11, 2013 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Page 73: "In short, a clever person can find much in ice that is interesting to study." Dr. Alley probably didn't intend this single sentence to be a summary of this book but it's a fair assessment. Dr. Alley's first-hand account of drilling 2-mile long ice cores in the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets places the reader in the frigid cold along with the scientists. He uses simple and accessible descriptions of the complicated chemistry and measurement techniques used to "read" the ice cores, ...more
Robert Wood
Jul 09, 2014 Robert Wood rated it liked it
Richard Alley provides a step by step analysis of how ice cores are used to understand paloeclimate. He goes from there to explain some of the mechanisms that both regulate and change climate historically within the Earth System, looking at C02, ocean currents, and other issues. It then moves into some speculation about the potential effects of man made climate change. Not a bad read, although it depended a bit much on analogy and metaphor for me, but that's more of a matter of taste, rather tha ...more
Yi Niu
Jun 17, 2015 Yi Niu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: climate, cryosphere
this book was assigned for a seminar offered by one of my dissertation committee members, Sarah M. Aciego, at the U of Michigan. so when i started with our data on Greenland, i decided to read this book. this book is easy to read for both professionals and general public. it contains very scientific figures as well as metaphors and examples in daily life. it's good for a read for both researchers on climate, cryosphere, and geochemistry and anyone interested on those topics.
Jan 29, 2008 Joannah rated it really liked it
This book is about ice core records in Greenland… how they are collected, analyzed, and what they tell us. I thought it was well written for a general audience and would help explain climate to the average person. However, it
was written 8 yrs ago in (2000), so I think we know a bit more about climate change now.
Aug 11, 2008 Lee rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive yet easy to read account of the science and findings of ice core research and how it informs our understanding of planetary climate changes on Earth. A must for anyone interested in understanding large scale climate changes.
Dec 14, 2010 Garrett rated it really liked it
Very awesome account of some reaseach done in Greenland, also contains a broader review of what we know about climate change and how we know it. No science background necessary to understand or enjoy this book.
Jan 28, 2015 Jack rated it liked it
good outline of how we get data from ice cores. bad science job of appealing for different behavior.
Jan 17, 2008 Sally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Explains findings on climate change centering on ice cores, largely from Greenland; author part of the scientific team which gathered the first ice cores.
Feb 03, 2013 Jennifer marked it as to-read
This was fantastically interesting but I just didn't have the time to read it and had to put it down. Would love to finish it when I get the chance.
Mike Lorenzetti
Aug 17, 2013 Mike Lorenzetti rated it really liked it
You have to back up some to see the big picture. I thoroughly enjoyed his explanations of the cyclic history of ice ages and climate in general.
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