The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change and Our Future



Enhanced greenhouse warming attributable to our profligate consumption of fossil fuels has established itself as perhaps the most contentious environmental issue currently being debated in the international political arena. To a large extent, the debate over whether societies should undertake actions to mitigate potentially adverse effects of climate change focuses on uncertainties in climate predictions and societal impacts. In an effort to reduce some of the uncertainty the climate community has expended considerable efforts to obtain detailed records of past climates, recognizing that the past may hold the key to our future.

The Two-Mile Time Machine by Richard Alley tells the captivating story of how one such record reconstructed from the GISP2 core, drilled through the more than 3-km thick Greenland Ice Sheet, has revealed startling clues about past climates and shattering many of our ideas on how climate operates.