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Brave New Arctic: The Untold Story of the…

Brave New Arctic: The Untold Story of the Melting North (Science… (2018)

by Mark C. Serreze

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"Brave New Arctic" is Mark Serreze's personal recollection of the recent developments in Arctic climatology. Essentially, Serreze answers the question of "how did we get to where we are," using a well thought-out mixture of personal anecdote (he was there after all) and science education.

Throughout the last thirty-or-so years, public understanding of Arctic Climatology has changed significantly, mainly as a result of new and contrasting scientific discoveries. From where Serreze's recollection begins, Arctic Climatology has gone through so many developments, many of which contradicted each other, even the theory of global cooling. Regardless, Serreze affirms current hypothesis of the Arctic in relation to anthropogenic global warming: that the Arctic will be an accelerant factor in global warming due to its climatological features, and how climate change has so far affected the region.

In terms of the book itself, it is well done. For me, it was quite obvious that the book was geared towards total amateurs. While I do love to wax philosophical in areas closer to my expertise, I am put in an awkward place by the content of the book only because I have sought out information on climate change, and the professors at my institution share Serreze's intuition on the importance of the Arctic. So some things, especially the more recent chapters are relatively familiar to me. Thus, the amateur-friendly approach was both comfortable and uncomfortable for me as a reader.

On to the book itself. The make and binding are satisfactory. My main demerit comes from the ginormous text size. To clarify, this is not a "large print" book, but text size must have been at least 14pt font. I remember saying to a friend that I had 40 pages left to read, and then finishing the book within 15 minutes. The figures, inserts, plates and notes are all well done, though I will always lament the fact that publishers prefer endnotes to footnotes for some incomprehensible reason. ( )
  MarchingBandMan | Oct 1, 2018 |
This recounts one scientists journey from the 1990s to present as he comes to believe in man-made global warming, sort of a mix of science and autobiography. I was under the impression it was for a general audience. But Serreze doesn't refrain from heavy climate terminology. It makes for a short book when you can use pithy and precise science vocabulary and don't need to repeat or rephrase before moving on to the next insight. Not to say I didn't pick a few things up here and there, but I couldn't recommend it unless you have the course prerequisites, or are motivated enough to do lookups. I might have even been motivated had the narrative been compelling -- but since we all know how it turns out (global warming is real) the mystery element is essentially missing and character element (Serreze) sometimes seems like he is writing an apology for why he doubted man-made climate change for so long. I think anyone knowledgeable enough on climate science will gain some value, Serreze is working in good faith he is not a denier.
  Stbalbach | Sep 6, 2018 |
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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.… (more)

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