The Ferocious Summer: Adélie Penguins and the Warming of Antarctica

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Greystone Books, 2008 - Nature - 299 pages

An urgent field report from Antarctica includes shocking evidence of climate change.

The Antarctic Peninsula is currently warming six times faster than the average rate for the planet, a rise in temperature more sustained than in any other known region of abrupt climate change on Earth. Although it may seem barren, this icy continent is a vital part of the Earth's ecosystem and central to the processes of global warming.

The Ferocious Summer is Meredith Hooper's firsthand account of the effects of climate change on Antarctica. For one summer, Hooper lived and worked with scientists observing the summer population of Ad&Èlie penguins nesting at Palmer Station, the smallest of America's three Antarctic research bases. For Hooper, Palmer's penguins offered a route to the complex business of Earth's changing climate. The Antarctic Peninsula was warming fast. Hooper questioned why and wondered what scientists were doing to understand it. The daily lives of Palmer's few thousand Ad&Èlie penguins became central evidence of global change. Pieces of the climate change puzzle-a jigsaw of complex interlocking pieces, with bits jumbled and missing-began clattering into place.

Based on daily diaries, acute personal observations, and interviews with Antarctica's international community of researchers, The Ferocious Summer is a fascinating and alarming report from the frontlines of global warming.

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