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The Goldilocks Planet

The Goldilocks Planet Author Jan Zalasiewicz
ISBN-10 9780199593576
Release 2012-03-22
Pages 303
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Presents a history of climate to reveal that the climatic changes happening hardly compare to the changes the Earth has seen over the last 4.5 billion years.



The Goldilocks Planet

The Goldilocks Planet Author Jan Zalasiewicz
ISBN-10 9780191634024
Release 2012-03-22
Pages 336
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Climate change is a major topic of concern today, scientifically, socially, and politically. It will undoubtedly continue to be so for the foreseeable future, as predicted changes in global temperatures, rainfall, and sea level take place, and as human society adapts to these changes. In this remarkable new work, Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams demonstrate how the Earth's climate has continuously altered over its 4.5 billion-year history. The story can be read from clues preserved in the Earth's strata - the evidence is abundant, though always incomplete, and also often baffling, puzzling, infuriating, tantalizing, seemingly contradictory. Geologists, though, are becoming ever more ingenious at interrogating this evidence, and the story of the Earth's climate is now being reconstructed in ever-greater detail - maybe even providing us with clues to the future of contemporary climate change. The history is dramatic and often abrupt. Changes in global and regional climate range from bitterly cold to sweltering hot, from arid to humid, and they have impacted hugely upon the planet's evolving animal and plant communities, and upon its physical landscapes of the Earth. And yet, through all of this, the Earth has remained consistently habitable for life for over three billion years - in stark contrast to its planetary neighbours. Not too hot, not too cold; not too dry, not too wet, it is aptly known as 'the Goldilocks planet'.



Ocean Worlds

Ocean Worlds Author Jan Zalasiewicz
ISBN-10 9780191653575
Release 2014-10-23
Pages 336
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Oceans make up most of the surface of our blue planet. They may form just a sliver on the outside of the Earth, but they are very important, not only in hosting life, including the fish and other animals on which many humans depend, but in terms of their role in the Earth system, in regulating climate, and cycling nutrients. As climate change, pollution, and over-exploitation by humans puts this precious resource at risk, it is more important than ever that we understand and appreciate the nature and history of oceans. There is much we still do not know about the story of the Earth's oceans, and we are only just beginning to find indications of oceans on other planets. In this book, geologists Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams consider the deep history of oceans, how and when they may have formed on the young Earth — topics of intense current research — how they became salty, and how they evolved through Earth history. We learn how oceans have formed and disappeared over millions of years, how the sea nurtured life, and what may become of our oceans in the future. We encounter some of the scientists and adventurers whose efforts led to our present understanding of oceans. And we look at clues to possible seas that may once have covered parts of Mars and Venus, that may still exist, below the surface, on moons such as Europa and Callisto, and the possibility of watery planets in other star systems.



Lucky Planet

Lucky Planet Author David Waltham
ISBN-10 9780465080823
Release 2014-04-08
Pages 208
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Why Earth’s life-friendly climate makes it exceptional—and what that means for the likelihood of finding intelligent extraterrestrial life We have long fantasized about finding life on planets other than our own. Yet even as we become aware of the vast expanses beyond our solar system, it remains clear that Earth is exceptional. The question is: why? In Lucky Planet, astrobiologist David Waltham argues that Earth’s climate stability is what makes it uniquely able to support life, and it is nothing short of luck that made such conditions possible. The four billion year-stretch of good weather that our planet has experienced is statistically so unlikely that chances are slim that we will ever encounter intelligent extraterrestrial others. Citing the factors that typically control a planet’s average temperature—including the size of its moon, as well as the rate of the Universe’s expansion—Waltham challenges the prevailing scientific consensus that Earth-like planets have natural stabilizing mechanisms that allow life to flourish. A lively exploration of the stars above and the ground beneath our feet, Lucky Planet seamlessly weaves the story of Earth and the worlds orbiting other stars to give us a new perspective of the surprising role chance plays in our place in the universe.



The Earth After Us

The Earth After Us Author Jan Zalasiewicz
ISBN-10 9780199214983
Release 2009-09-10
Pages 251
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If aliens came to Earth 100 millions years in the future, what traces would they find of long-extinct humanity's brief reign on the planet? This engaging and thought-provoking account looks at what our species will leave behind, buried deep in the rock strata, and provides us with a warning of our devastating environmental impact.



The Planet in a Pebble

The Planet in a Pebble Author Jan Zalasiewicz
ISBN-10 9780199645695
Release 2012-03-22
Pages 256
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In this narrative of the Earth's long and dramatic history, Jan Zalasiewicz shows how many events in the Earth's ancient past can be deciphered from a single pebble. He explores how geologists reach deep into the past by forensic analysis of even the tiniest amounts of mineral matter, demonstrating and revealing Earth's extraordinary story.



Five Billion Years of Solitude

Five Billion Years of Solitude Author Lee Billings
ISBN-10 9780698137684
Release 2013-10-03
Pages 304
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“A definitive guide to astronomy’s hottest field.” —The Economist Since its formation nearly five billion years ago, our planet has been the sole living world in a vast and silent universe. But over the past two decades, astronomers have discovered thousands of “exoplanets,” including some that could be similar to our own world, and the pace of discovery is accelerating. In a fascinating account of this unfolding revolution, Lee Billings draws on interviews with the world’s top experts in the search for life beyond earth. He reveals how the search for exoplanets is not only a scientific challenge, but also a reflection of our culture’s timeless hopes, dreams, and fears.



Colliding Continents

Colliding Continents Author Mike Searle
ISBN-10 9780191652493
Release 2013-03-28
Pages 464
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The crash of the Indian plate into Asia is the biggest known collision in geological history, and it continues today. The result is the Himalaya and Karakoram - one of the largest mountain ranges on Earth. The Karakoram has half of the world's highest mountains and a reputation as being one of the most remote and savage ranges of all. In this beautifully illustrated book, Mike Searle, a geologist at the University of Oxford and one of the most experienced field geologists of our time, presents a rich account of the geological forces that were involved in creating these mountain ranges. Using his personal accounts of extreme mountaineering and research in the region, he pieces together the geological processes that formed such impressive peaks.



How to Build a Habitable Planet

How to Build a Habitable Planet Author Charles H. Langmuir
ISBN-10 9781400841974
Release 2012-08-13
Pages 736
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Since its first publication more than twenty-five years ago, How to Build a Habitable Planet has established a legendary reputation as an accessible yet scientifically impeccable introduction to the origin and evolution of Earth, from the Big Bang through the rise of human civilization. This classic account of how our habitable planet was assembled from the stuff of stars introduced readers to planetary, Earth, and climate science by way of a fascinating narrative. Now this great book has been made even better. Harvard geochemist Charles Langmuir has worked closely with the original author, Wally Broecker, one of the world's leading Earth scientists, to revise and expand the book for a new generation of readers for whom active planetary stewardship is becoming imperative. Interweaving physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, and biology, this sweeping account tells Earth’s complete story, from the synthesis of chemical elements in stars, to the formation of the Solar System, to the evolution of a habitable climate on Earth, to the origin of life and humankind. The book also addresses the search for other habitable worlds in the Milky Way and contemplates whether Earth will remain habitable as our influence on global climate grows. It concludes by considering the ways in which humankind can sustain Earth’s habitability and perhaps even participate in further planetary evolution. Like no other book, How to Build a Habitable Planet provides an understanding of Earth in its broadest context, as well as a greater appreciation of its possibly rare ability to sustain life over geologic time. Leading schools that have ordered, recommended for reading, or adopted this book for course use: Arizona State University Brooklyn College CUNY Columbia University Cornell University ETH Zurich Georgia Institute of Technology Harvard University Johns Hopkins University Luther College Northwestern University Ohio State University Oxford Brookes University Pan American University Rutgers University State University of New York at Binghamton Texas A&M University Trinity College Dublin University of Bristol University of California-Los Angeles University of Cambridge University Of Chicago University of Colorado at Boulder University of Glasgow University of Leicester University of Maine, Farmington University of Michigan University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of North Georgia University of Nottingham University of Oregon University of Oxford University of Portsmouth University of Southampton University of Ulster University of Victoria University of Wyoming Western Kentucky University Yale University



The Two Mile Time Machine

The Two Mile Time Machine Author Richard B. Alley
ISBN-10 9781400852246
Release 2014-10-26
Pages 248
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In the 1990s Richard B. Alley 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. In The Two-Mile Time Machine, Alley tells the fascinating history of global climate changes as revealed by reading the annual rings of ice from cores drilled in Greenland. He explains that humans have experienced an unusually temperate climate compared to the wild fluctuations that characterized most of prehistory. He warns that our comfortable environment could come to an end in a matter of years and tells us what we need to know in order to understand and perhaps overcome climate changes in the future. In a new preface, the author weighs in on whether our understanding of global climate change has altered in the years since the book was first published, what the latest research tells us, and what he is working on next.



Anthropocene Reading

Anthropocene Reading Author Tobias Menely
ISBN-10 9780271080376
Release 2017-11-03
Pages 272
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Few terms have garnered more attention recently in the sciences, humanities, and public sphere than the Anthropocene, the proposed epoch in which a human “signature” appears in the lithostratigraphic record. Anthropocene Reading considers the implications of this concept for literary history and critical method. Entering into conversation with geologists and geographers, this volume reinterprets the cultural past in relation to the anthropogenic transformation of the Earth system while showcasing how literary analysis may help us conceptualize this geohistorical event. The contributors examine how a range of literary texts, from The Tempest to contemporary dystopian novels to the poetry of Emily Dickinson, mediate the convergence of the social institutions, energy regimes, and planetary systems that support the reproduction of life. They explore the long-standing dialogue between imaginative literature and the earth sciences and show how scientists, novelists, and poets represent intersections of geological and human timescales, the deep past and a posthuman future, political exigency and the carbon cycle. Accessibly written and representing a range of methodological perspectives, the essays in this volume consider what it means to read literary history in the Anthropocene. Contributors include Juliana Chow, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Thomas H. Ford, Anne-Lise François, Noah Heringman, Matt Hooley, Stephanie LeMenager, Dana Luciano, Steve Mentz, Benjamin Morgan, Justin Neuman, Jennifer Wenzel, and Derek Woods.



Skeletons

Skeletons Author Jan Zalasiewicz
ISBN-10 9780192522467
Release 2018-03-22
Pages 320
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Over half a billion years ago life on earth took an incredible step in evolution, when animals learned to build skeletons. Using many different materials, from calcium carbonate and phosphate, and even silica, to make shell and bone, they started creating the support structures that are now critical to most living forms, providing rigidity and strength. Manifesting in a vast variety of forms, they provided the framework for sophisticated networks of life that fashioned the evolution of Earth's oceans, land, and atmosphere. Within a few tens of millions of years, all of the major types of skeleton had appeared. Skeletons enabled an unprecedented array of bodies to evolve, from the tiniest seed shrimp to the gigantic dinosaurs and blue whales. The earliest bacterial colonies constructed large rigid structures - stromatolites - built up by trapping layers of sediment, while the mega-skeleton that is the Great Barrier Reef is big enough to be visible from space. The skeletons of millions of coccolithophores that lived in the shallow seas of the Mesozoic built the white cliffs of Dover. These, and insects, put their scaffolding on the outside, as an exoskeleton, while vertebrates have endoskeletons. Plants use tubes of dead tissue for rigidity and transport of liquids - which in the case of tall trees need to be strong enough to extend 100 m or more from the ground. Others simply stitch together a coating from mineral grains on the seabed. In Skeletons, Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams explore the incredible variety of the skeleton innovations that have enabled life to expand into a wide range of niches and lifestyles on the planet. Discussing the impact of climate change, which puts the formation of some kinds of skeleton at risk, they also consider future skeletons, including the possibility that we might increasingly incorporate metal and plastic elements into our own, as well as the possible materials for skeleton building on other planets.



Goldilocks and the Water Bears

Goldilocks and the Water Bears Author Louisa Preston
ISBN-10 9781472920089
Release 2016-06-16
Pages 288
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'Highly recommended' Financial Times Today we know of only a single planet that hosts life: the Earth. But across a Universe of at least 100 billion possibly habitable worlds, surely our planet isn't the only one that, like the porridge Goldilocks sought, is just right for life? Astrobiologists search the galaxy for conditions that are suitable for life to exist, focusing on similar worlds located at the perfect distance from their Sun, within the aptly named 'Goldilocks Zone'. Such a place might have liquid water on its surface, and may therefore support a thriving biosphere. What might life look like on other worlds? It is possible to make best-guesses using facts rooted in science, and by studying 'extremophiles' – organisms such as the near-indestructible water bears, which can survive in the harshest conditions that Earth, and even space, can offer. Goldilocks and the Water Bears is a tale of the origins and evolution of life, and the quest to find it on other planets, on moons, in other galaxies, and throughout the Universe.



Earth Matters

Earth Matters Author Richard Bardgett
ISBN-10 9780191645631
Release 2016-01-28
Pages 288
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For much of history, soil has played a major, and often central, role in the lives of humans. Entire societies have risen, and collapsed, through the management or mismanagement of soil; farmers and gardeners worldwide nurture their soil to provide their plants with water, nutrients, and protection from pests and diseases; major battles have been aborted or stalled by the condition of soil; murder trials have been solved with evidence from the soil; and, for most of us, our ultimate fate is the soil. In this book Richard Bardgett discusses soil and the many, and sometimes surprising, ways that humanity has depended on it throughout history, and still does today. Analysing the role soil plays in our own lives, despite increasing urbanization, and in the biogeochemical cycles that allow the planet to function effectively, Bardgett considers how superior soil management could combat global issues such as climate change, food shortages, and the extinction of species. Looking to the future, Bardgett argues that it is vital for the future of humanity for governments worldwide to halt soil degradation, and to put in place policies for the future sustainable management of soils.



Rare Earth

Rare Earth Author Peter D. Ward
ISBN-10 9780387218489
Release 2007-05-08
Pages 338
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What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? Questions such as these are investigated in this groundbreaking book. In doing so, the authors synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the universe. Everyone who has been thrilled by the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and the indications of life on Mars and the Jovian moon Europa will be fascinated by Rare Earth, and its implications for those who look to the heavens for companionship.



The Universe Within

The Universe Within Author Neil Shubin
ISBN-10 9780307907868
Release 2013-01-08
Pages 240
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From one of our finest and most popular science writers, the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery story as big as the world itself: How have astronomical events that took place millions of years ago created the unique qualities of the human species? In his last book, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human anatomy—our hands, our jaws—and the structures in the fish that first took over land 375 million years ago. Now, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, he takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we are the way we are. Starting once again with fossils, Shubin turns his gaze skyward. He shows how the entirety of the universe's 14-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. From our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system), he makes clear, through the working of our eyes, how the evolution of the cosmos has had profound effects on the development of human life on earth. From the Hardcover edition.



With Speed and Violence

With Speed and Violence Author Fred Pearce
ISBN-10 9780807085851
Release 2007-03-15
Pages 312
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Nature is fragile, environmentalists often tell us. But the lesson of this book is that it is not so. The truth is far more worrying. Nature is strong and packs a serious counterpunch . . . Global warming will very probably unleash unstoppable planetary forces. And they will not be gradual. The history of our planet's climate shows that it does not do gradual change. Under pressure, whether from sunspots or orbital wobbles or the depredations of humans, it lurches-virtually overnight. —from the Introduction Fred Pearce has been writing about climate change for eighteen years, and the more he learns, the worse things look. Where once scientists were concerned about gradual climate change, now more and more of them fear we will soon be dealing with abrupt change resulting from triggering hidden tipping points. Even President Bush's top climate modeler, Jim Hansen, warned in 2005 that "we are on the precipice of climate system tipping points beyond which there is no redemption." As Pearce began working on this book, normally cautious scientists beat a path to his door to tell him about their fears and their latest findings. With Speed and Violence tells the stories of these scientists and their work-from the implications of melting permafrost in Siberia and the huge river systems of meltwater beneath the icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica to the effects of the "ocean conveyor" and a rare molecule that runs virtually the entire cleanup system for the planet. Above all, the scientists told him what they're now learning about the speed and violence of past natural climate change-and what it portends for our future. With Speed and Violence is the most up-to-date and readable book yet about the growing evidence for global warming and the large climatic effects it may unleash.