Frozen Oceans: The Floating World of Pack Ice

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Firefly Books, 2004 - Nature - 224 pages

Discover and explore worlds containing unexpected life.

As some scientists search for life on the frozen planet of Mars, others are discovering life in unexpected places here on Earth.

Frozen Oceans follows the expeditions of polar scientists in the Arctic and Antarctic as they investigate the life found in and around the ice caps, which cover up to 13 percent of the Earth's surface.

Every year during the harsh polar winter, the surface of the ocean freezes, forming a temporary ice layer called pack ice, or sea ice. The Antarctic is the site of the greatest seasonal event on Earth. In March, the air temperatures drop to as low as -40F, the ocean, which turns to ice at 28.7F, starts freezing at the incredible average rate of 2.22 square miles per minute!

This is the first book to explain in non-technical terms and show with color photography the abundance of life on, in and under the ice.

Topics include:

  • The nature of pack ice
  • Pack ice regions of the world
  • Life within a block of ice
  • Microbiology inside the ice
  • Mammals, birds and ice.

Scientists are continually being surprised by the abundance of life where no life was expected. For many years, ice was seen as an obstacle to exploration and a threat to life. The ice is now perceived as central to global ocean circulation as well as global climate patterns. Frozen Oceans is a must for anyone with an interest in the polar regions, marine biology and the Earth's environment.

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What happens when seawater freezes?
Packice regions of the world

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About the author (2004)

David N. Thomas is a marine biologist who has conducted four expeditions to the Antarctic and two to Arctic pack ice. He has written science features for Science, BBC Wildlife Magazine and New Scientist.

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