16/7/2010 Ward, Peter D The Flooded Earth: Our Future in a World without Ice CapsPublished by: Basic Books Price: £15.99 When the ice caps melt
AS THE Earth warms, so its surface ice melts into the sea: true in the past, and true in the future. How far, and how fast, the melting goes will affect millions who live in low-lying cities or rely on crops from coastal plains.
Peter Ward, prolific writer on Earth history, is a sure-footed guide to the state of play. He relates how projections of this century’s sea-level rise are going up, but still nowhere near the 60-metre leap that would follow if the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets go. And he highlights geological evidence which suggests the sheets could melt faster than the centuries or millennia often assumed.
The science is leavened by glimpses from his own travels – of bleached corals and the new sea defences of countries such as Belgium. In the end, uncertainty remains, but he convinces us that it would be foolhardy to risk a global meltdown