The Goldilocks Planet: The 4 billion year story of Earth's climate

The Goldilocks Planet: The 4 billion year story of Earth's climate

by Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams


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Climate change is a major topic of concern today, scientifically, socially, and politically. It will undoubtedly continue to be so for the foreseeable future, as predicted changes in global temperatures, rainfall, and sea level take place, and as human society adapts to these changes.

In this remarkable new work, Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams demonstrate how the Earth's climate has continuously altered over its 4.5 billion-year history. The story can be read from clues preserved in the Earth's strata - the evidence is abundant, though always incomplete, and also often baffling, puzzling, infuriating, tantalizing, seemingly contradictory. Geologists, though, are becoming ever more ingenious at interrogating this evidence, and the story of the Earth's climate is now being reconstructed in ever-greater detail - maybe even providing us with clues to the future of contemporary climate change.

The history is dramatic and often abrupt. Changes in global and regional climate range from bitterly cold to sweltering hot, from arid to humid, and they have impacted hugely upon the planet's evolving animal and plant communities, and upon its physical landscapes of the Earth. And yet, through all of this, the Earth has remained consistently habitable for life for over three billion years - in stark contrast to its planetary neighbours. Not too hot, not too cold; not too dry, not too wet, it is aptly known as 'the Goldilocks planet'.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199683505
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 12/01/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jan Zalasiewicz, Senior Lecturer in Geology, Leicester University,Mark Williams, Reader in Geology, Leicester University

Dr Jan Zalasiewicz is Senior Lecturer in Geology at Leicester University. A field geologist, palaeontologist, and stratigrapher, he teaches various aspects of geology and Earth history to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and is a researcher into fossil ecosystems and environments across over half a billion years of geological time. He is the author of The Earth After Us and The Planet in a Pebble, both published by OUP. He has published over a hundred papers in scientific journals.

Dr Mark Williams is Reader in Geology at Leicester University and a former scientist with the British Antarctic Survey. He has a strong interest in how the fossil record reflects changes in Earth's climate through time. He teaches many aspects of geology but especially climate change over geological timescales. He has published over a hundred papers in scientific journals.

Table of Contents

A Brief Word on Time
1. Primordial Climate
2. Earth as a Snowball
3. Between Greenhouse and Icehouse
4. The Last Greenhouse World
5. The Ice Returns
6. The Last of the Warmth
7. Into the Icehouse
8. The Glacial World
9. Birth and Death of the Holocene
10. The Anthropocene Begins
Further reading

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The Goldilocks Planet: The 4 Billion Year Story of Earth's Climate 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so boring! i feel like I am reading a very dry earth science textbook. Too much detailed information without any of the wonder and facination I expected I wish I had not wasted my money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Earth has endured massive temperature variation since its inception. Since the formation of an atmosphere, it has incurred significant climatological variation. Messrs Zalasiewicz and Williams strive to evaluate these variations and to describe their myriad possible causes in a professional, unbiassed style. Data are presented in quantity and hypotheses are rigorously examined, as are instrumentally, chemically, and astronomically-documentable findings in an attempt to avoid the sensationalism and bias of certain political and popular culture elements. The resulting book is a complex work which the average layperson may find challenging through which to wade, but will reveal facts rather than suppositions, wishes, or prejudices regarding "global warming."