A World Without Ice by Henry Pollack, Ph.D.
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  • DID YOU KNOW� If all of today's ice melts, sea level will rise 250 feet

Praise & Reviews

“I have come to know and respect Dr. Pollack as an engaging and effective communicator, a scientist with the rare ability to engage ordinary people and translate scientific ideas into everyday terms that are easy to understand.”


“In a world where everything frozen is now melting, we should barely need a book to get our attention. But clearly we do, and this is the book—a thorough reminder of what it means to live in a planet with poles and glaciers, and
what it will be like without them.”

—BILL MCKIBBEN, co-founder of 350.org and New York Times best-selling
author of Deep Economy

“A thoughtful and refreshing book that brings ice to life. Well researched and with a personal feel this book is an excellent alternative route into understanding the issues around climate change. Fascinating, accessible and very powerful.”


“Skiers rejoice when snow falls and Inuit hunters welcome sea ice, while commuters find winter storms an inconvenience. Henry Pollack has a much broader view. Speaking eloquently, forcefully, yet lyrically, he explains how snow and ice are the clockworks of our planet. A World Without Ice is a fascinating, scary, but informative portrait of Earth’s delicate climate balance and the thresholds we are staring across.”

—JON TURK, author of The Raven’s Gift

“The work of Dr. Pollack and the IPCC in bringing attention to the very serious dangers posed by climate change has been justly praised. This book shows how essential ice-caps and glaciers are. It is a welcome contribution to planetary conservation.”

—Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and author of The Challenge for Africa

“A splendid and accessible account of Antarctica and the Arctic, the dynamic and life-sustaining nature of ice, and the urgency of mitigation strategies in the face of looming tipping points from accumulating greenhouse gases.”

—Gilbert S. Omenn (M.D., Ph.D.) University of Michigan; former president, American Association for Advancement of Science

“To write a book as educational, insightful and readable as A World Without Ice required someone with the 40-year record of leading research on the physics of Earth, its climate, and its ice—and the literary talent of Henry Pollack.”

—Ralph Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences

“In his wonderful and important new book, A World Without Ice, Dr. Henry Pollack—in a clear narrative, almost story-telling, style (a rare gift for a scientist)—describes the vital role of ice in our earth-world (biophysical-human) system. . . this slim and unpretentious book could well be the Silent Spring of the 21st Century.”

—Gary Colliver, Windows on the World Books & Art, Mariposa, CA

“This book is terribly important and should be read by every responsible citizen of this planet. Though grounded in strong science, it is written with all of us in mind, including laypersons. The message being: There is no longer any excuse for putting our heads in the sand.”

—Barnaby Porter, Maine Coast Book Shop, Damariscotta, ME

“This is a frightening book! Pollack effectively gives the entire picture of the huge mess we initially inadvertently caused. He is unafraid to address the lack of administrative desire to face facts. He is also effectively addressing very weak arguments against warming. Everyone needs to read this book. Our lives may depend on it!”

—Kevin Ray Jones, Windy City Books, Casper, WY

“Pollack, a geophysicist with the admirable ability to communicate in a language other than math, presents the stark facts of today’s situation and offers careful descriptions of the likelihood of a frightening future, should earth’s climate continue to change.”

—Patricia Monaghan, Booklist, *Starred Review*

“Seldom has a scientist written so well and so clearly for the lay reader. Pollack’s explanations of how researchers can tell that the climate is warming faster than normal are free of the usual scientific jargon and understandable. All readers concerned about global warming and students writing papers on the topic will want this excellent and important volume.”

—Betty Galbraith, Washington State University Library Journal
*Starred Review*

“A clear, engaging review of a disturbing environmental pattern.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“What would be nice is if a brilliant geophysicist, maybe one who’d spent decades traveling the world conducting scientific research, helped win a Nobel Peace Prize for sounding the alarm on climate change, had the soul of a teacher and...told fabulous stories, would write a book. Wouldn’t we all be better off if there was one good volume of marvelously-credentialed science, covering the entire known history of world climate with serious smarts and peppered with entertaining anecdotes...and maybe organizing the whole issue in such a way as to take the...overheated politics out of the debate? Henry Pollack must have thought so when he wrote A World Without Ice”

—Leah DuMouchel, AnnArbor.com

“Pollack didn’t write A World Without Ice like a scientific journal, or like a textbook. Rather, he wrote it with the air of an enthusiastic science teacher introducing his students to new topics.”


“There was a moment, before I started reading, that I doubted anyone could pull off a whole book about ice, but Henry Pollack does more than pull it off—he excels at it. If you’re at all interested in science, the environment, animals, nature, or geopolitics, this is a great book to try.”


“This important wake up call joins a rapidly growing selection; this volume distinguishes itself with a Nobel pedigree and a sound, straightforward approach.”

—Powell’s Books

“This book is about more than ice. It is about ice and people, about the inexorable link between ice and the abitability of this planet. We must cherish it and vouchsafe it...Dr. Pollack’s fine narrative explains why everyone should care and I exhort you not to waste a single moment before exploring this 300-page work from Avery Books.”

—Corbett Kroehler, Keyboard Culture

“Pollack is a voice of sanity in a situation that urgently needs a great deal more of it. Many of his fellow scientists could learn something valuable from this book about how to communicate with nonspecialists, and about the positive role scientists can play when they step out of the technical journals for a time and apply their expertise to speaking to their fellow citizens about matters of public import. We could use more such articulate and compelling efforts. Readers will come away from this story with an understanding of why the ice needs to stay frozen. And perhaps be moved to take action.”

—Rick Piltz, Climate Science Watch

“It is this last chapter that I find very salutary. He takes a realistic look at possible futures...discusses steps we can take to survive what must come, and to keep more of it from coming. It is time to quit pointing blame and to plan for the future. I particularly appreciate this aspect of the author's message.”


“A captivating explanation of how ice drives the delicate balance of Earth's climate, and how that balance has been knocked off kilter by human activity. A World Without Ice is an important book for anyone truly interested in making the right choice.”

—Thomas Schueneman, globalwarmingisreal.com

“Pollack is a venerable scientist with a thousand stories to share. He's been doing ice science for over 40 years. All of that experience makes A World Without Ice a great introduction to climate science.”


“If you are a climate denialist, you are going to want to look elsewhere for comfort. Pollack is not giving you any.”


“Through startling facts and attention-grabbing prose, the author deftly illustrates the importance of ice and how it has helped shape, literally and figuratively, life on Earth.”

—Jessica A. Knoblauch, mnn.com

“A World Without Ice is an outstanding book ... I have seldom seen a scientist write so well for the nonscientist.”

—Betty Galbraith, The Environmentalist

“[The final chapter] ends with a call to arms, an appeal to act boldly to change the course that is plotted out for us. Pollack clearly believes we can and should change our route.”

—Ruth Francis, Nature

“Pollack’s intellectual clout and clarity of phrase are invaluable in describing the scientific evidence for global warming, the ways in which it will affect the world, and the all-too-probable consequences.”

—Ian Sample, The Guardian

“As one of the world’s leading climate experts, Pollack is required reading for any serious environmentalist.”

—Michelle Hardy, Mother Nature Network

“Brilliantly written...”

—The Green Geek

Selected to 2010 shortlist
for Royal Society Prize
for Science Books

Best Science Books 2009
Library Journal Best of
2009 Sci-Tech Books

Silver Medal
Living Now 2010 Book Awards
Green Living Category

Featured on Body + Soul
magazine's 2009
“Essential Reading” List

Named by IndieBound to
2009 Indie Next List:
“Great Reads from
Booksellers You Trust”

In the mid-twentieth century a tipping point was crossed, when the human influence on climate overtook the natural factors that had previously governed climate.