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The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  101 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Sea level rise will happen no matter what we do. Even if we stopped all carbon dioxide emissions today, the seas would rise one meter by 2050 and three meters by 2100. This—not drought, species extinction, or excessive heat waves—will be the most catastrophic effect of global warming. And it won’t simply redraw our coastlines—agriculture, electrical and fiber optic systems ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 29th 2010 by Basic Books (first published July 6th 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Feb 01, 2014 Abigail rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've read on the effects of climate change, although I've read many articles in various periodicals and newspapers on the subject. I learned a great deal from Dr. Ward's book which dealt primarily with the effects of the rising level of the oceans and the effects of their increasing acidification. I found the research done on previous periods of warming presented in the book explained much that is just headline material in shorter articles. For example, anyone who has read ...more
Oct 27, 2011 Beth rated it liked it
Very interesting and well researched information on what will happen due to climate change. However, I have determined that this is a terrible book to read right before bed.
Dec 15, 2014 ryn rated it liked it
Shelves: science
because the author so often refers to the large advances in climate science and our understanding of the processes of global warming and sea level rise over the decade or less preceding this book's publication, i found myself constantly wondering what the current models showed and how much worse (certainly, worse) the measurements and predictions had become in the years since then - any information made me crave newer information. still, a good read and one that, as a layperson with an interest, ...more
Susan Albert
Last week, a chunk of ice four times as large as Manhattan Island broke off the tongue of the Petermann Glacier in Greenland and went swimming in the sea. For me, immersed in The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps, it was striking evidence of what Peter D. Ward writes about: the loss of the polar icecaps and the melting of ice sheets and glaciers, caused by rising global temperatures. (At the same time, Russia was experiencing its worst drought and heat wave in recorded histor ...more
May 25, 2011 Steve rated it liked it
This book takes a potentially interesting angle on climate change - sea level rise - but doesn't take it far enough, to my regret. The best climate-change book I've read, Six Degrees, took established research and painted consistent scenarios for what would happen in a world warmed by 1degree C, by 2degrees C, and so on until the frankly terrifying 6 degrees of the title. It took the science and made it into a story, which is something I as a human being can relate to. There are moments when War ...more
This book was a very quick read, and most of it was very interesting, if a little repetitive. The one part of the book I really could have lived without were the scenarios he created at the beginning of each chapter. I thought they were a little odd, and took away from the general information he was trying to impart.

I think he did a good job of explaining what will potentially happen if we allow sea level to rise (which at this point we don't have a lot of choice). I think the most interesting p
Nov 20, 2010 Peter rated it it was amazing
Peter Ward is one of the top Paleoclimatologists in the world and anything you can read (albeit not the easiest reads is worthwhile) his insights into climate and dissecting the ancient record and analysis of Ipcc reports is definitely worth the price. In this his most recent work he covers all the important aspects of the climate debate and even some not so well known issues such as the effect storm surge will have in inundated freshwater deltas with salt water and the destruction to habitat an ...more
Jul 14, 2013 Arjun rated it it was ok
Sometimes, the gulf between science and futurism is too wide. And sometimes, the backstory is too severe, too long and too much. The promise of this book (if we can call a vision of the earth under water a "promise") relies on an amazing amount of exposition, the science of what we're doing now, to fully dwell on the earth of the future - which are vigenettes of possible scenes from different points in the future and certainly not the thrust of the book. Not blaming the author here. Probably an ...more
Aug 01, 2012 Clint rated it it was amazing
Not a well fit read for anyone that may feel adversely to or have an allergy of global warming or science in general! This was a great read for me. It is a wonderful mix of geological and climatological fact and research interlaced with captivating futuristic fictional scenarios of what could be. We are indeed hurting our planet and its delicate environment, climate, and ecosystems that have been a process of billions of years, within the span of two centuries, there is not a doubt in my mind th ...more
Jul 29, 2014 Foggygirl rated it really liked it
A good read, although at times I found myself becoming somewhat depressed when I really stopped to considered how ineffective the west's policies are when it comes to curtailing CO2 emissions (cough Canada).
Jul 05, 2013 Michael rated it did not like it
Way too cataclysmic in his writing. Yes, I understand the seriousness of the issue. However, the writing was along the lines of catastrophe porn. An important topic but this book will sway none but the true believers. I could not get all the way through this one...
Sep 01, 2010 Willowwind rated it really liked it
A nice presentation of what we know about climate change in the past and likely scenarios of the effects of increasing levels of CO2 in the future. One of an increasing number of books on the subject.
Nov 09, 2010 Mary rated it liked it
I didn't follow all the science but enough to make me
think the author knew what he was talking about, and the
potential scenarios were intriguing in a science-fiction
sort of way.
Jan 20, 2015 Mitchell rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, four-star
Fairly readable description of the pieces behind sea-level rise - primarily co 2 in the air and global temperature. Interesting and informative and fairly readable. 4 of 5.
Don  Kent
Feb 01, 2011 Don Kent rated it really liked it
This is a tough book and it's content is frightening and unfortunately likely to be accurate. It is a must read for those who wish to be ecologically and environmentally aware.
Sep 15, 2010 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: books-for-kindle
Very informative. Though the truth of the matter is depressing. Still, I think we should all read and be aware of the consequences of our lifestyles.
Mar 02, 2011 John rated it really liked it
A rather depressing look at future climate change; hopefully closer to a worst case scenario, but is well researched and sourced.
Dec 10, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
Great book, but I was disappointed with some egregious copy-editing errors. Looked like otnhad been rushed to print.
Izetta Autumn
Jul 16, 2010 Izetta Autumn marked it as to-read
You know, just trying to equip myself since we've speeded up our environmental destruction with the oil spill...

J. D.
Nov 24, 2010 J. D. rated it it was amazing
Another tour-de-force. I wonder how the deniers of anthropogenic global warming function without minds.
David Burch
Sep 10, 2012 David Burch rated it it was amazing
Loved it. although its a little past tense, its still making us think of the future. Recomended.
Richard Hellinga
Jul 15, 2013 Richard Hellinga rated it really liked it
Another depressing read about the future of our planet thanks to Climate Change.
Andrew Boscardin
Feb 13, 2011 Andrew Boscardin rated it liked it
Spoiler alert: we're totally f***ed.
Kate Ditzler
Sep 12, 2010 Kate Ditzler rated it it was ok
Shelves: nanowrimo10
Man, this book is depressing.
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Peter Douglas Ward (born 1949) is an American paleontologist and professor of Biology and of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle. He has written popular numerous science works for a general audience and is also an adviser to the Microbes Mind Forum.

Life and work

His parents, Joseph and Ruth Ward, moved to Seattle following World War II. Ward grew up in the Seward Park
More about Peter D. Ward...

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