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Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth
 
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Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth [Format Kindle]

Curt Stager

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Présentation de l'éditeur

A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2011 title

A bold, far-reaching look at how our actions will decide the planet’s future for millennia to come.

Imagine a planet where North American and Eurasian navies are squaring off over shipping lanes through an acidified, ice-free Arctic. Centuries later, their northern descendants retreat southward as the recovering sea freezes over again.  And later still, future nations plan how to avert an approaching Ice Age... by burning what remains of our fossil fuels.

These are just a few of the events that are likely to befall Earth and human civilization in the next 100,000 years. And it will be the choices we make in this century that will affect that future more than those of any previous generation. We are living at the dawn of the Age of Humans; the only question is how long that age will last.

Few of us have yet asked, “What happens after global warming?” Drawing upon the latest, groundbreaking works of a handful of climate visionaries, Deep Future helps us look beyond 2100 a.d. to the next hundred millennia of life on Earth. 


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 811 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 304 pages
  • Editeur : Thomas Dunne Books; Édition : Reprint (15 mars 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004N625KA
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  45 commentaires
22 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An important perspective on global climate change 6 mars 2011
Par ARH - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Curt Stager, a paleoecologist (someone who uses the geologic and fossil records to study the ecology past periods of earth's history), has assembled a book well worth reading if you are interested in or concerned about global climate change. Probably the most imporant thing this book adds to the body of scientific literature that addresses issues of climate change is that of "deep time". "Deep time" refers to expansive lengths of time needed to envision both earth's history and its future. These are time frames most people do not deal with or consider on a regular basis, and so have a difficult time comprehending, but with which geologists like Stager use all the time.

I have been studying and teaching about a wide array of environmental issues for nearly 20 years, and this book provided me with a truly new perspective that I never considered before: the deep future of the planet - a climate future that may be predictable (albeit in broad strokes) for the next 100,000 years or so. Most climate predication models extend only through about 2100, not 102,100! Stager uses known, predictable varibles such as the Milankovitch cycles (variations in the shape of earth's orbit and wobble on its axis) together with known greenhouse-earth episodes in earth's history to predict what might happen to the planet in the future if we experience a moderate episode of carbon-loading in the atmosphere of 1000 giga-tons or so versus an extreme episode of loading of 5000 giga-tons of carbon. Both scenarios are possibilities, depending on when we switch from fossil fuel dependence...i.e., we can switch soon (the 1000 Gt version) or after we run out of fossil fuels and then switch (the 5000 Gt version).

Regardless of whether we stop after 1000 Gt or 5000 gt, Stager predicts that we have already emitted enough additional carbon into the atmosphere to cancel the next major glaciation period that would have started around 50,000 years from now. He also predicts that though we will certainly see sea levels rise, an ice-free Arctic, shifts in growing regions and precipitation patterns, these things will not be the end of mankind. These things will happen gradually, with time enough for humans and other species (except perhaps for tundra or polar species) to adapt.

Stager interestingly mentioned that many climatologists believe that he is not alarmist enough, while climate change naysayers say he is alarmist. This, Stager says, is an indicator that he is probably somewhere near the truth. He is neither a climate change extremist or appologist, but the message he has to share is interesting and pertinent.

One of the most important messages he shares has to do with the degree of confidence we can have in scientific work and conclusions. In the Epilogue Stager states that, "In a media-saturated world where public opinions are easily swayed by team loyalty, marketing strategies, and short-term self-interest, science stands apart as a rare source of relatively impartial, self-correcting information. The strict rules of scientific investigation favor well-supported ideas over weak ones, and the international peer-review system is a firewall of checks and balances that provides an additional line of defense against sloppy of slanted thinking."

So why don't I give this book 5 stars...well, for one thing, I think Stager's comments on carbon-14 dating need to be better clarified. For another thing, his view of what it means to be a native versus an introduced species is too heavily influenced by his deep-time persepctive and lacks a shorter-term perspective needed to describe ongoing competition, displacement, etc. He also seemed to generalize too much about what may happen in the temperate regions of the planet by focusing on what he thinks is or is not happening in the Adirondack Mountains.

Stager nevertheless provides a level-headed view of our possible possible future that is well worth a look.

4 solid stars!
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The FUTURE is lookin' HOT! HOT! HOT! 21 avril 2011
Par W. T. Hoffman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Curt Stager's new book, based on decades of researching ice and soil cores from around the globe, provides one of the most balanced, well documented, perspicuous accounts of the global effects of the warming trend, that I've ever encountered. Before you pass this research over as liberal agenda, it's worth reading for not only his predictions about the changes we face, but what will be the LONG TERM changes the Earth faces. Of course, that's why the subtitle "The Next 100,000 years of Life on Earth", tho after a careful reading, its really the next half million years he's predicting. It might help to have a little geology under your belt reading this, idealy historical geology or meterology, tho its not essencial. I only say this, because the book is crammed with so much scientific insight and processed data, along with computer simulations about the CO2 levels now and in the past, and where that will leave us globally over the next few millenia. However, Stager writes with a well grounded, non technical language for much of the book. So when he breezes over the celestrial mechanics which governed the LONG TERM warming and cooling cycles earth has experienced in the past, he doesnt even use the term "Precession" to discribe the 23000 year cycle where the pole traces a circle which points at the North Star now. He calls precession "Wobble", since that's what the earth does. Eccentricity, another one of earth's movements, moves the earth's solar orbit from circular to more eliptical, which Stager explains means "egg-like". These celestrial changes in orbit (along with Obliquity) are often what the right wing global warming bashers, blame our current warming trend upon. However, earth and ice cores from around the world, which reveal CO2 levels in the air, prove the ONLY explanation for our current global warming trend is the burning of fossil fuels. Currently, we are faced with TWO SCENARIOS for the earth's next 100,000 years. Either we stop polluting now, and are left with a moderate rise of carbon levels capping at 550-600 ppm (current levels are 387 ppm CO2), then we can expect melting over the next several centuries ending with a rise in sea levels of 23 feet. The author makes clear, that the Greenland ice mass, or the West Antartic ice shelf wont melt in a matter of years or decades, causing seaside megametropolises to be flooded like a tsunami hit them. In an attempt to appear non partisan, or simply acting darkly sarcastic, Stager claims that the effects of a full blown greenhouse effect will spare our future descendants the horrors of another ice age in 50,000 years. Also, he tries to seem like a non-alarmist by reminding us that, after the effects of all the burnt fossil fuels have been reabsorbed into the earth, via acidification of the oceans, or binding in vegetation, that the earth will return to its present condistion in anywhere from 100,000 years for the moderate emission levels, to a half million years if the oceans rise 240 feet. In addition, many species of plants and animals shall have gone extinct, most human habitations anywhere NEAR the sea will need to be moved, since building dikes will only help at first. He reiterates often that since present models predict oceans rising only 3 feet each century, there's no need to be alarmed of immediate flooding. Also, he talks about the benefits of farming in the far north, where there is presently tundra. Again, he gleefully overlooks that tundra is mostly glacier scraped bedrock, and lots of stagnant ponds and lakes, whereas we will be losing huge areas of land to desertification thruout the temperate latitudes, since warming and drying occur together.

So much information is covered in the book, I'm at a loss to bring you even the highlights in such a way, that you can appreciate the level of specificity he covers. Stagers belongs to the UNIVERSITY OF MAINE'S CLIMATE CHANGE INSTITUTE, which houses endless numbers of ice and earth cores, and 53 colleages whom he often calls up for more exacting information outside his own field, like the chapter he devotes to the future of the Polar Bear, and the food cycle that sustains that animal, or when he argues that it will take more than lots of fresh water to shut down the gulf stream, since it depends on MOC theory, ie, mostly tides and winds cause the conveyer to move. Another area he examines in great detail, which I've never seen addressed in books on Global warming, is the effects of an increasingly acidic ocean, as the CO2 disolves into the seawater, producing acidity so severe that shellfish, corals, and other carbonate exoskeleton life forms of even microscopic size, will simply have their exoskeletons dissolve in the overly acidic oceans. What that might do to the food chain is unknown, naturally. Forever taking the LONG VIEW, as the title suggests, Stager attempts to predict when sea ice might once again reform over the Artic ocean. (since the Artic ocean will be almost ice free, in the very near future, during the summer.) However, in 2-5000 years, given a moderate increase in CO2 levels, ice might start to reform during the winter. OR, the ice might reform in 50-100,000 years. And, if we face the effects of a large release of CO2 emissions, then ice might not reform on the artic for 500,000 years. That tells me that some of these predictions are based on computer models with too many variables. No computer model can refer to previous data sets with this level of CO2, since in no period of earths history were the CO2 levels this high before.

This research should be studied by anyone who has a deep interest in the way the Anthropecene age is transforming the earth's climate, and ultimately, what we can expect in the future. These are warnings that all humanity would be wise to take seriously. These are facts that should be examined by college classes on global climate change, and by politicians who meet for international symposiums on what is coming to the coasts, and how fast. Most people will appreciate his lack of any alarmist rhetoric, since the ocean levels will rise slowly enough, that Stager believes that in the future, people will simply move further inland, and further north, incrementally and smoothly the way birch trees will move slowly north, til they cover the Canadian tundra as far north as the upper Hudson Bay, and Baffin island. Of course, that's the weak link in his reasoning, from my viewpoint. The fact is, we have NO IDEA what to expect with humanity's reaction to all this, except starvation, wars over water rights, mass migrations, and bizarre, severe weather changing where it's reasonable to live. WHen he talks about the far future in human social terms, I found little science, and much unfounded speculation. However, the far future of earth's return to normal CO2 levels, do appear scientific, since the information is based upon hard scientific facts gathered from ice cores and ancient lake and ocean beds. In addition, I have to remark about the lack of footnoting. Actually, the author often gathered his information from colleages over telephone conversations. Perhaps more graphs, and other hard data from the U of ME. Climate Change Institute might have been helpful. (I found data on their website, that helped me understand some of Stager's explanations, including graphs showing the direct correspondance between CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and the ice mass on land.) What might be the most insightful information in the book is when the EEMIAN INTERGLACIAL PERIOD is examined. At that time, the earth had NO ICE anywhere, and the oceans were at their peak depth. (240 feet deeper than today.) So long before the relatively recent glaciation periods on earth started about 900,000 years ago, the earth was as warm as our carbon based emissions will make it once more, should we not cap our emissions right now. BUT WHY? Orbital radiation changes caused by the slow but constant changes in the celestrial mechanics of earth's relationship to the sun, cant account for this. So much is still unknown. This information, tho accurant, amounts to baby steps in this new science of analysing deep cores of earth and ice, for clues into the previous world climate. This doesnt negate anything, but just warns us that no matter what we might PREDICT for the next 100,000 years as a result of fossil fuel burning, the fact remains that we CANT know too much, cos there are so many variables still in play, including what, if any, limits humanity might impose and ENFORCE on CO2 emissions in the immediate future. A book that leaves you asking hard questions, often has more to say than a book insisting on acceptable answers, that might be based on opinions or wishful thinking by those very companies that have invested literally trillions of dollars in the marketing, and drilling, of oil, no matter how horrible the effects of fracking shale might be, or the spills caused by deep sea drilling.

SO, who should read this book? I would recommend it to people with a more educated bent, and who wish to enquire what the future holds. Policy makers should take this work seriously, as should anyone involved in international politics. Seriously, tho, the language isnt the technical jargon of geological research papers, but rather, the book is definately written to be read by nearly ANYONE who desires clearer worldview about how our changing climate around the world will immediately effect the socio-economics of countries with large seacoasts, or lots of artic land. Realizing that the earth WILL recover in anywhere from 100,000 to a half million years, doesnt OK the present destruction of the planet so our fossil fuel technology can squeeze the last drops of oil out of a world that cant afford to continue burning carbon fuels, or ignore renewable energy. If there is ONE MESSAGE, amongst the huge amount of various effects of long term global warming, I would say its that.....NOTHING is worth exposing humanity to this headache, from which it might not survive.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A great read. 16 mars 2011
Par HLQ - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Not being a scientist I fully appreciated the author's consideration for a general audience wanting to understand climate change in the past, present and future. This is a great read.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A new perspective about an old argument 16 mars 2011
Par Wordpainter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Trying to explain scientific concepts in a way that is engaging and illuminating can be a tall order but I think that Dr. Stager does a great job of making the information enjoyable and accessible in Deep Future. As a paleoecologist who studies ice cores, he is the ultimate big-picture thinker and it was mind-expanding to think in terms of millenniums rather than generations. I was blown away by the idea that we have prevented the next Ice Age -- I didn't even realize the Earth still had patterns of Ice Ages.

Stager's explanation of the difference between weather and climate was also fascinating. While some might try to put him strictly on one side or the other in the global warming debate, he makes an excellent point that it can only be understood by taking the long view.

For fresh insight and a well-written perspective, I highly recommend Deep Future.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Data Talks: "Just the facts, ma'am" 11 novembre 2011
Par The Long Ride, Lucian Spataro - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Data Talks: "Just the facts, ma'am"
Curt Stager does a great job of providing the general reader with a point of view that is refreshingly long-term and balanced as opposed to the short-term, more alarmist predictions that we are bombarded with daily. He does this with objective arguments ("just the facts, ma'am") that are based on scientific research, quantitative data, and related models that show how climate cycles have historically worked over much longer geologic time frames, and for the first time ever, how activity during the anthropocene period (a newly coined term that describes the period of human impact beginning just a few hundred years ago) will in fact influence future climate change.

His message is both scary and optimistic as he points out that we humans can now, for the first time ever, impact future climate change through our activities. Natural systems and quite possibly humans will survive these changes, albeit in different forms than we have today. Stager calmly points out that it is normal and not unusual for species to come and go over time, and furthermore, that these changes will likely occur gradually enough to allow us to respond with sufficient notice.
The important distinction between "climate" and "weather" is clearly explained in this book, and for the general reader is fundamental to understanding how the human impact on climate change will be felt going forward. This is an important read for those who are trying to decipher the available global climate change data and interpret the various competing messages from those who are promoting conflicting positions.

Stager's message is delivered in a clear and highly readable style, and will most certainly inform and motivate you as well as provide you with a sense of perspective and hope for the future. I highly recommend this book.
Lucian Spataro, Jr., Ph.D., author of The Long Ride: The Record Setting Journey by Horse Across the American Landscape
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