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August 24th, 2008

The opening of a new landscape: Columbia Glacier at mid-retreat

Tad Pfeffer's new book on Alaska's Columbia Glacier represents not only a valuable contribution to the scientific literature, but a history of exploration and a stunningly beautiful photographic record of one of the most studied glaciers on the face of the earth.

Since the late 1970s, Alaska's Columbia Glacier has been studied intently, as its fast calving rate was seen as a potential danger to shipping in Prince Williams Sound. It was soon realized that the glacier's unusually heavy outpouring of icebergs made it one of the fastest-receding glaciers in the world, and a major factor determining the earth's sea level. By recording the retreat of the Columbia Glacier, not just during the years of the author's study of it, but over centuries, Pfeffer brings us a balanced presentation of the changing climate's deleterious effect on one of our most valuable water resources and the paradoxical opening of a new landscape of fauna and flora freed by the retreating ice.

Pfeffer's book is published by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and printed in a horizontal format (11"x9") with a full-page photo on every other page. AGU Special Publication Series, Volume 59. ISBN 13: 978-0-87590-729-1