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The Goldilocks Planet: The Four Billion Year Story of Earth's Climate

Popular Science
Subject of incredible importance - climate change has become one of the most important issues in the world today - scientifically, socially, and politically
Tells the story of how the Earth's climate has changed over a 4.5 billion-year history
Considers how this history can be used to predict the future of the Earth
Looks at how the Earth has remained consistently habitable for life for over three billion years - in stark contrast to its planetary neighbours

By: Jan Zalasiewicz (Author), Mark Williams (Author)

303 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Sep 2013 | #204961 | ISBN-13: 9780199683505
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £10.99 $14/€13 approx
Hardback | Mar 2012 | #195019 | ISBN-13: 9780199593576
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £16.99 $22/€20 approx

About this book

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'.


Contents

Prologue

1: Primordial climate
2: Snowball Earth
3: Between greenhouse and icehouse
4: The last long greenhouse
5: An ice age begins
6: Last gasp of a warm Earth
7: Into the icehouse
8: The glacial world
9: The last ten thousand years
10: The Anthropocene begins


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Biography

Dr Jan Zalasiewicz is Senior Lecturer in Geology at Leicester University. A field geologist, palaeontologist, and stratigrapher, he teaches various aspects of geology and Earth history to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and is a researcher into fossil ecosystems and environments across over half a billion years of geological time. He is the author of The Earth After Us and The Planet in a Pebble. He has published over a hundred papers in scientific journals.

Dr Mark Williams is Reader in Geology at Leicester University and a former scientist with the British Antarctic Survey. He has a strong interest in how the fossil record reflects changes in Earth's climate through time. He teaches many aspects of geology but especially climate change over geological timescales. He has published over a hundred papers in scientific journals.

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