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Antarctica's capacity to create, store and disperse ice is critical to the way our planet functions. But along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula there has been a 40% decrease in the mean annual sea ice extent since 1979. The daily life of a few thousand Adelie penguins nesting here, on rocky islands at America's smallest Antarctic base, Palmer Station, have become central evidence of real, incontrovertible climate change. The Antarctic Peninsula is for all of us an early warning system.
This brilliant book tells the story of Antarctic warming and of how scientists are piecing together the jigsaw of causes and impacts, here in particular through a study of the changing lives and habits of a group of Adelie penguins. To write this book, Meredith Hooper worked with key scientists in bases, on ice breakers and in research vessels. Her story is very precisely located in time and space, focusing on the work and ideas of individual scientists and on the local animals. In it, she memorably brings an outsider's non-specialist awareness to the crucial understanding of what is happening, now, to the planet we share.