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Darkening Peaks

Glacier Retreat, Science, and Society

Ben Orlove (Editor), Ellen Wiegandt (Editor), Brian H. Luckman (Editor)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 296 pages
ISBN: 9780520253056
February 2008
$85.00, £71.00
Looking up at mountains, people now see bare, dark rock where white snow and ice once stood—dramatic evidence of the accelerating pace of glacier retreat due to climate change. This groundbreaking work is the first to provide an integrated, multidisciplinary, global exploration of the scientific, social, and economic dimensions of this phenomenon. Bringing together contributors from five continents, Darkening Peaks discusses the ways that scientists have observed and modeled glaciers, tells how climate change is altering their size and distribution, and looks closely at their effect on human life.
Ben Orlove is Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California, Davis and Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University. His books include Lines in the Water: Nature and Culture at Lake Titicaca (UC Press). Ellen Wiegandt is Lecturer at the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva and Senior Researcher at the University Institute Kurt Bösch, Sion, Switzerland. She is also the editor of Mountains: Sources of Water, Sources of Knowledge. Brian H. Luckman is Professor of Geography at the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.
“ A fascinating and stimulating volume . . . a wonderful reference . . . and a thumping good read.”—Journal Of Quaternary Science
“This work is the first to provide a multidisciplinary, global exploration of the scientific, social, and economic dimensions of this phenomenon.”—Bltn Of The American Meteorological Society
"Retreat of mountain glaciers ranks alongside sea level rise and extermination of species as one of the greatest threats posed by continued global warming. The authoritative picture painted in Darkening Peaks should help bring humanity to its senses and to spur the actions needed."—James E. Hansen, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

"This important and timely book elucidates how glacier retreat is affecting physical, biological, and human systems simultaneously. The authors' perspectives from mountain regions worldwide provide key insights at both global and local scales."—Cynthia Rosenzweig, Earth Institute, Columbia University

"From an impressive range of disciplinary perspectives and geographic locations, Darkening Peaks provides a refreshing look at the real complexities involved with the causes and consequences of environmental change."—Roger A. Pielke, Jr., author of The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics

"Glaciers play a major role in teaching us about our planet's past, and in warning us about its future. They inspire fear, awe, and fascination. Whatever your interest in glaciers, you will find this rich, broadly ranging volume exciting."—Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse

"Darkening Peaks is a dazzling fusion of hard science, historical narrative, and cultural context that outlines social responses for coping with our changing environment."—Stephen H. Schneider, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

"Combining the latest research results from the social and natural sciences, Darkening Peaks succeeds in giving a timely and detailed account of the cultural perceptions, scientific observations, trends, impacts, and responses associated with glacial retreat. Highly recommended."—John Schellnhuber CBE, Chief Science Advisor to the German government and Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

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