The Cryosphere is the name of those parts of the earth that contain frozen water; like snow, ice, permafrost, glaciers - and something that very few has heard of: invisible glaciers. This is a part of the world that most of us only know from afar - with the exception of Norwegians and other Northerners. But we see less and less of it, as the area is shrinking.
Bjørn Vassnes, Norway´s leading science journalist and native to the arctic plateau of Finnmarksvidda, take us on a fascinating journey through climate research, biology, cultural history and archaeology. Weather you live in it or not, The Kingdom of Frost effects all life on earth.
The cold in the age of heat
At his best Bjørn Vassnes is the Norwegian Bill Bryson. The gifted writer and journalist has the ability to go both wide and deep, without getting lost in the details and reservations that sometimes is the problem of the academic researchers own presentations. In this book Vassnes` starting point is his own childhood in the Kingdom of Frost, on Finmarksvidda, so connected to frost, ice and snow in their many shapes and denominations.
Vassnes manages in an impressive way to draw the great lines of both the history of earth, the variations between the hot periods and the cold, where the earth has been very close to a “snowball earth”. He shows us how evolution of life, and not the least our own evolution, is inextricably linked to the shifts in our climate. Without a colder and drier weather, a small branch of the primates may never have left the forest and taken to the savannah on two legs, evolved a bigger brain and become Homo Sapiens. Like Bill Bryson, Elixabeth Kolbert and others that have succeeded in the art of non-fictional storytelling, Bjørn Vassnes also go to the centre of action, telling the stories of the scientists.
Vassnes never get high pitched, there is no alarmism, and no rhetoric about how we are standing at the edge of the abyss. In a hushed manner and with a steady pen, he still makes us aware of the seriousness. Underway to this seriousness we have joined him on an educational journey in the Kingdom of frost.
Dag O. Hessen, KLASSEKAMPEN
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