Thin Ice: Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World’s Highest Mountains

Mark Bowen. <i>Henry Holt. $30.</i>

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Thin Ice should correct the notion that climatologists are just number-crunching geeks. Mark Bowen finds that the field’s cutting edge isn’t in the lab, but on the dangerously exposed faces of the world’s highest mountains, where scientists defy boredom and death to document global warming.

Thin Ice focuses on the exploits of Lonnie Thompson, the relentless visionary behind the high-altitude climatology movement, one of the most promising areas of global warming research. For 30 years, he’s led expeditions to “every blank on the map he could find,” from the Andes to Kilimanjaro, to drill for ice cores, frozen time capsules that lock in air, dust, and pollution of climates past, and offer solid (literally) evidence of human impacts on the environment. Thompson has now spent more time in the “death zone” above 20,000 feet than almost anyone alive. Even his chief rival admits that Thompson’s insistence that the real climatological action is atop glaciers, not at the poles, has earned him a place “in the ranks of our great explorers.”

Bowen tells Krakaueresque tales of Thompson’s trials (avalanches, altitude sickness, torrential storms turning solar panels into kites, valuable samples plummeting down vertical faces), alternating with a meticulous, if sometimes labored, history of the science. Thin Ice is an occasionally hair-raising picture of an overlooked and surprisingly risky quest that will appeal to science buffs and armchair adventurers alike.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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