In the 1990s, researchers in the Arctic noticed that floating summer sea ice had begun receding. This was accompanied by shifts in ocean circulation and unexpected changes in weather patterns throughout the world. The Arctic's perennially frozen ground, known as permafrost, was warming, and treeless tundra was being overtaken by shrubs. What was going on? Brave New Arctic is Mark Serreze's riveting firsthand account of how scientists from around the globe came together to find answers.
In a sweeping tale of discovery spanning three decades, Serreze describes how puzzlement turned to concern and astonishment as researchers came to understand that the Arctic of old was quickly disappearing – with potentially devastating implications for the entire planet. Serreze is a world-renowned Arctic geographer and climatologist who has conducted fieldwork on ice caps, glaciers, sea ice, and tundra in the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic. In this must-read book, he blends invaluable insights from his own career with those of other pioneering scientists who, together, ushered in an exciting new age of Arctic exploration. Along the way, he accessibly describes the cutting-edge science that led to the alarming conclusion that the Arctic is rapidly thawing due to climate change, that humans are to blame, and that the global consequences are immense.
A gripping scientific adventure story, Brave New Arctic shows how the Arctic's extraordinary transformation serves as a harbinger of things to come if we fail to meet the challenge posed by a warming Earth.
"Distinguished scientist Mark Serreze provides an engaging history of how a true skeptic came to understand the human role in the changing Arctic, and how he contributed to that new knowledge."
– Richard B. Alley, author of The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future
"An insightful and entertaining read. Serreze has a gift for writing eloquently and colorfully from the trenches of scientific research."
– John E. Walsh, coauthor of Severe and Hazardous Weather
"Serreze gives an engaging insider's view of the struggle to understand the causes of the observed changes in the Arctic, describing how he and the broader research community came to recognize that these profound changes are a result of human impacts on the climate."
– Robert Max Holmes, Woods Hole Research Center
"Serreze provides a wealth of important findings and perspectives from his decades of work in the high North and polar regions."
– Robert W. Corell, Global Environment and Technology Foundation
"Brave New Arctic is well written, engaging, and informative. In detailing his personal journey, Serreze gives readers a wonderful feel for the progress of Arctic science over the past few decades."
– Claire L. Parkinson, polar researcher
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Mark C. Serreze is director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, professor of geography, and a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the coauthor of The Arctic Climate System. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.