Ebb and Flow: Tides and Life on Our Once and Future Planet

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Dundurn, Sep 30, 2007 - Nature - 296 pages
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Ebb and Flow was named one of 2007’s "best science books" by Peter Calamai, science editor of the Toronto Star [Dec. 30, 2007]. He calls it a "wonderful resource book. Tom Koppel seems to have visited or read about every place with unusual tides and water currents, yet he wears this scholarship lightly."

Tides have shaped our world. They have carved out shorelines, transformed early life on Earth, and altered the course of human civilization. Tides frustrated Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, and aided General MacArthur. They govern the way our planet moves, provide us with an alternative source of energy, and may be aggravating global climate change.

Drawing on science, history, and personal memories, Koppel’s fascinating book engages and enlightens, demonstrating that a subject we take for granted affects all our lives. He weaves together three grand narratives, exploring how tides impact coasts and marine life, how they have altered human history and development, and how science has striven to understand the surprisingly complex way in which tides actually work.

 

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Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
9
PROLOGUE
11
HIGH WATER AND HISTORY India China and How the Ancient World Learned about the Moon and Tides
15
LIVING BY THE TIDES Authors Daily Activities Run in Sync with the Local Tide Tables
37
HEAVEN AND EARTH The Renaissance and Isaac Newtons Great Breakthrough in Tidal Theory
55
INTO THE MAELSTROM Powerful Tidal Currents Generate Killer Whirlpools
73
THE SHAPE OF TIDES The Great Variety of Shorelines Created by Different Tidal Regimes
91
AGE OF DISCOVERY European Explorers Learn How Complex the Tides Can Be
115
THE GREAT WHEEL OF LIFE High Water and Coastal Biology
171
SEA AND SKY IN HARMONY Oscillating Waters and Modern Tidal Forecasting
187
HOLDING BACK THE TIDE How Civilizations Have Coped with High Water and Low
215
THE BIG PICTURE Climate Change and Worldwide Tidal Patterns
231
TURNING THE TIDE Tapping the Energy of the Oceans
247
ONCE AND FUTURE TIDES A Receding Moon and Drifting Continents
265
A Trip to the Beach
283
FURTHER READING
287

TIDAL TEMPEST FastFlowing Waters Doom Many a Ship
135
THEORY MEETS PRACTICE Tides as Great Rotating Wave Systems
149

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About the author (2007)

Tom Koppel has written popular science articles for newspapers, and for journals such as Canadian Geographic, Equinox, Canadian Living, and Reader's Digest. He is the author of the books Lost World: Rewriting Prehistory — How New Science is Tracing America's Ice Age Mariners; Powering the Future: The Ballard Fuel Cell and the Race to Change the World ; and Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest . He lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

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