The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey Into Greenland's Buried Past and Our Perilous Future

The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey Into Greenland's Buried Past and Our Perilous Future

Greenland: a remote, mysterious island five times the size of California but with a population of just 56,000. The ice sheet that covers it is 700 miles wide and 1,500 miles long, and is composed of nearly three quadrillion tons of ice. For the last 150 years, explorers and scientists have sought to understand Greenland--at first hoping that it would serve as a gateway to the North Pole, and later coming to realize that it contained essential information about our climate. Locked within this vast and frozen white desert are some of the most profound secrets about our planet and its future. Greenland's ice doesn't just tell us where we've been. More urgently, it tells us where we're headed.

In The Ice at the End of the World, Jon Gertner explains how Greenland has evolved from one of earth's last frontiers to its largest scientific laboratory. The history of Greenland's ice begins with the explorers who arrived here at the turn of the twentieth century--first on foot, then on skis, then on crude, motorized sleds--and embarked on grueling expeditions that took as long as a year and often ended in frostbitten tragedy. Their original goal was simple: to conquer Greenland's seemingly infinite interior. Yet their efforts eventually gave way to scientists who built lonely encampments out on the ice and began drilling--one mile, two miles down. Their aim was to pull up ice cores that could reveal the deepest mysteries of earth's past, going back hundreds of thousands of years.

Today, scientists from all over the world are deploying every technological tool available to uncover the secrets of this frozen island before it's too late. As Greenland's ice melts and runs off into the sea, it not only threatens to affect hundreds of millions of people who live in coastal areas. It will also have drastic effects on ocean currents, weather systems, economies, and migration patterns.

Gertner chronicles the unfathomable hardships, amazing discoveries, and scientific achievements of the Arctic's explorers and researchers with a transporting, deeply intelligent style--and a keen sense of what this work means for the rest of us. The melting ice sheet in Greenland is, in a way, an analog for time. It contains the past. It reflects the present. It can also tell us how much time we might have left.

Title:The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey Into Greenland's Buried Past and Our Perilous Future
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780812996623
Format Type:

    The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey Into Greenland's Buried Past and Our Perilous Future Reviews

  • Diane S ?

    3.5 Impeccably presented and in an interesting manner, the author begins with a lost colony on Greenland, and the early explorers who wanted to cross the frozen middle of Greenland. Hazardous, so many...

  • Vicky Hunt

    A Microcosm of Glaciology: And The Politics That PayThe book that needed to be written; The Ice at the End of the World is that book that briefly surveys the history of Greenland’s exploration, and ...

  • Carly Friedman

    This is a fascinating book that covers the long history of the exploration of and research on Greenland's ice. It starts with early explorations of the area. What crazy adventures! I cannot imagine an...

  • Susan Paxton

    This is an important book. Deniers argue that climate change is a recent and invented or, conversely, a "natural" phenomenon. Jon Gertner spent several years working on this book to prove that the cur...

  • Tomislav

    I read an advance reader copy of Jon Gertner’s The Ice at the End of the World, in uncorrected proof ebook, provided to me by Penguin / Random House through netgalley, in return for promising to wri...

  • Stephen

    In a line: One part history of the early efforts to explore Greenland's vast ice sheets, one part history of how paleoclimatology was born. My reading journeys have taken me to Greenland recently, but...

  • Irene

    This is a survey of the scientific exploration and research of Greenland’s glaciers over the past century and a half. Through courageous explorers and dedicated scientists, this research has helped ...

  • Phil Boyd

    100 years of exploring the ice covering the top of the world. Gives a great look at how glaciology has advanced thanks to the studies done in Greenladn (in part because of the Cold War). Also provides...

  • Donna

    I highly recommend this fascinating and important book, beautifully written by New York Times bestselling author and long-time friend Jon Gertner. After finishing it, I had a real understanding of not...

  • Marge

    Most of this book details the history of early explorers on Greenland which was certainly interesting and also distressing. Reading about death, near death, having to eat their horses and dogs that pu...