320 pages, 12 b/w illustrations
From avalanches to glaciers and seals to snowflakes, from igloos to icebergs, permafrost to hoarfrost, chilblains to frostbite, Bill Streever unearths the consistent, ongoing influence of cold on the planet. Evoking history, myth, geography and ecology, Streever's quest for icy, forty-below cold gains purchase in July, while he's taking a dip in an Arctic swimming hole; in September, while excavating our planet's ice ages; and in October, while exploring animals' hibernation habits, from humans to wood frogs to bears. In March he even does his best to escape it, bundling up in layers of polyester, spandex and Primaloft fill to face thermometers reading twenty-three below. Streever visits an underground Cold War-era tunnel, where preserved remains mingle with new-fangled machinery and gear; weighs in on the scientific quest to reach absolute zero (-459 °F); and describes how refrigeration evolved from worldwide ice shipping to the chemical coolants we know today.
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Bill Streever chairs the North Slope Science Initiative's Science Technical Advisory Panel in Alaska and serves on many related committees, including a climate change advisory panel. A biologist, he lives with his son in Anchorage, where he hikes, bikes, camps, scuba dives and cross country skies, as often as the weather allows.