Free The Two-Mile Time Machine Essay Sample

Richard Alley in the book The Two-Mile Time Machine: ice cores, abrupt climate change, and our future provides insight into the issue of global changes of climate. This has been done through reading of the annual ice rings, which have been drilled from the arctic. In the past (1990s), Richard Alley discovered the fact that one of the last so called ice ages ended abruptly within a three year period. In this book, Alley explains the fluctuations of climate that have characterized the historical times. He also explains that people have witnessed an unusual cold climate and gives a warning that the habitat friendly climate could end in some years.

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Over the last few years, study on palaeoclimate has brought large proxy data, but it is only recently that the data has been large enough to warrant a worth summary of climate linkages. The book underlines progress of sorts along the PEP 1 (Pole-Equator-Pole 1) spanning from all of America. The book is artfully written and is a summary of palaeoclimatology, but the author elaborates more on the Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP2). There have been several books written on the impact of global climatic conditions which have tried to explain how changes in climate patterns will sway major climatic changes around the globe. Richard B. Alley’s book The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change and Our Future is one of the books with a fascinating story of a scientist study on these effects. Alley tries to explain the changes by piercing together the earth’s climatic history over the last 100,000 years. The author is a distinguished climatic researcher, and his book justifies this as he presents us with a progressive account of abrupt climatic changes and their effects. He uses a readable style that is highly understandable in a way that most readers can perceive.  

In the 1990s, scientists revealed that ancient ice is a kind of archive of vital information in the climate parameters. This marks the initial stages of the research in green land. The scientists drilled down about two miles through the ice in the Arctic and discovered atmospheric chemicals that could be used to reveal the phenomena as patterns of wind and precipitation for a period of over 100,000 years. These records give a suggestion that dials and switches determine the climate of the earth (p. 13). In an example, he demonstrates that hot currents (as well as cold ones) switch off and on again and again changing the worldearth from very hot to extremely icy and repeat to revert the situation in a few year periods (p. 5).  

His study emphasizes on dial and switches that control the climate of the earth. However, the study does not account for the mechanisms which control those switches (p. 13). He does not give an indication as to whether the earth is likely to experience another massive change in the climate patterns. From the report, the impacts of global warming are that it can actually accelerate the abrupt climate change; however, if the warming rate is reduced, it can stop the abrupt change and even stabilize the climate (p. 5). His study shifts the climate influences from human activities to natural happenings. He outlined a number of factors that affect the climate, including wind and ocean currents. He demonstrates the fact that the climate can be stable, but human activities have an impact on the speed in which the changes will occur. He, however, failed to name the exact ways in which human activities affect the climatic variation and changes. The book, however, outlines the already known factors and probably will give an insight into the ways of long term climate forecasts and caution against the impacts.

The author discredited the use of the continental as well as the oceanic drilling in the favor of the ice drilling, which preserves much of the sediment (p. 12). The research focuses on the use of glacier to study the past climate and give an account of the future climate (p. 13). The drilling efforts were pioneered by a collaboration of various stakeholders and an analytical laboratory was set up for the job ahead (p. 23). From the analysis, it was deduced that the ice had actually been piling up for the last few decades, and it contained information on the climatic conditions of the past. The task was complicated by the fact that the drilling was done in the sites where the camps had already been established and not necessarily on the most suitable locations (p. 19).

His methods of study involved the extraction of ice columns and analyzing the chemical and physical properties in relation to the climatic condition. This, however, gave no information on the human activity in the past and their possible contribution in the climate changes and variations. The current level of technology and green gas emissions has no comparison platform in the past, making it difficult to cite their impacts on the climate change and variation. Another factor that could render the results inaccurate is the fact that the science of using ice to derive the climatic information is a relatively young science. No much research has been carried out on the subject and therefore, much of the deduced information can not be much reliable.

The author cites the saurian sauna and the solar system swing as the causes of the crazy climatic patterns as deduced from the ice columns. These episodes, however, have no way of being proved and they take a very long time to occur, to the extent that it is not credible to cite them as an accurate source of those extreme variations (pp. 83, 91 and 99). Alley in his speeches has confessed that he is not an atmospheric scientists but a teacher in the history of the atmosphere. This puts much of the scientific facts under scrutiny.

After Alley tells us how the ice in the Greenland archives and its past climate records and provides the other knowledge that we are able to use to assemble the records; he paints a picture of what can be produced by the observed climatic changes. He then shows us the effect that can occur when the “huge oceanic conveyer belt” that forms the North Atlantic Ocean may be one of the determining factors of climate change. Here, he dwells to teach us how we can use the information about climatic changes to our advantage in the future. It is through Alley that we learn that the Greenland ice cores disclose a rich history of past climatic changes during the time that humanity developed. He concludes that climatic changes are affected by variations in the earth’s tilt and orbit or even by manmade changes like the emission of greenhouse gases. Alley successfully takes us through a path that is usually left in debating about climatic changes. He acknowledges that according to scientific studies, we may be heading for a changing climatic period; therefore, we should start learning how to cope with it.   

The author disregarded all the researches that have been carried out on the contribution of carbon dioxide to the global warming. He went on to attribute this to the naturalistic happenings. However, on the other hand, The Two-Mile Time Machine is a book that should be highly regarded, since it is a forceful book that does not resort to exaggerating or spreading fear, which has been the norm for climatic writers.   


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