Riddle of the Ice

Myron Arms, Author
Myron Arms, Author Doubleday Books $22.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-49092-4
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Sailing the Labrador coast in July 1991, Arms, a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed ocean master and regular contributor to Sail and Cruising World, found his way blocked by ice, nearly 400 miles short of his destination. Yet a few hundred miles south, there was record-breaking heat. Why the ice barrier? Arms's search to find out led him to major climate-study centers where scientists are attempting to understand Arctic ice and its relationship to the changing global climate. In 1994, Arms took his 50-foot sailboat Brendan's Isle, with a small crew from Woods Hole, to Greenland, ""to dramatize this investigation, to rescue it from the computer screens and library carrels."" His engaging account of that voyage, in the form of a ship's log, encompasses nearly all of this book, and allows him to muse, sometimes quite technically, over the connection between sea ice, ocean currents and climate. We learn about the Great Ocean Conveyer Belt and the Great Salinity Anomaly, and that the route covered by the Brendan's Isle--Labrador Sea, Davis Strait, Baffin Bay--is believed to control global climate change. The sailing adventure will appeal to saltwater buffs, and readers interested in climate will find this a dynamic look at what's happening to the natural world, and why. (Feb.)
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