The second edition of Ice Ages and Interglacials has been completely updated. It studies the history and gives an analysis of extreme climate change on Earth. In order to provide a long-term perspective, the first chapter briefly reviews some of the wild gyrations that occurred in the Earth's climate hundreds of millions of years ago: snowball Earth and hothouse Earth. Coming closer to modern times, the effects of continental drift, particularly the closing of the Isthmus of Panama are believed to have contributed to the advent of ice ages in the past three million years. This first chapter of Ice Ages and Interglacials sets the stage for a discussion of ices ages in the geological recent past (i.e. within the last three million years, with an emphasis on the last few hundred thousand years).
Existing books on ice ages are mostly short, popular, and non-technical. Many deal with the effects of the last ice age on flora and fauna. The small book by the Imbries is mostly historical and reflects their undying belief in the astronomical theory. The only book that attempts to deal with the broad issues of what we know about past ice ages and why they occur is the book by Muller and MacDonald (M&M), published by Praxis. However, despite its many good features, this book suffers from an inordinate emphasis on spectral analysis, a lack of coverage of new data, and a very confusing sequence of chapters. As a result, the data and theory are so intimately entwined that it is difficult to separate one from the other.
Ice Ages and Interglacials will provide an independent and hopefully complete summary of the latest data, independent of theory or analysis. This will be far more extensive than that given by M&M. Only then, after presenting the data, will theories be explored and comparisons made with the data.
Preface.- 1. Life and climate in an ice age.- 2. Variability of the Earth's climate.- 3. Ice core methodology.- 4. Ice core data.- 5. Ocean sediment data.- 6. Other data sources.- 7. Summary of climate variations.- 8. Overview of the various models for ice ages.- 9. Variability of the Earth's orbit: astronomical theory.- 10. Comparison of astronomical theory with data.- 11. Future prospects.- 12. Abbreviations.- 13. References.
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Donald Rapp has had a long and varied science and engineering career with 48 years of experience after receiving his Ph. D. from the University of California in January, 1960. He was a professor for 14 years, and achieved the rank of full professor at age 40. Over the years, he has developed a unique talent to move into a field, research it thoroughly, and write an incisive, perceptive summary of the field. His capabilities are widely sought for writing summary technical reports and technical proposals. He has published many scientific papers and five text books: Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, Solar Energy, Human Missions to Mars, and Assessing Climate Change. The Mars and Climate books were published by Praxis Publishing, so Praxis/Springer is familiar with my abilities. His five books are summarized at: http://home.earthlink.net/~drdrapp/