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The Arctic islands are characterised by beautiful mountains and glaciers, in which the wildlife lives in delicate balance with its environment. It is a region with a long history of exploration and exploitation by humans, now experiencing rapid environmental change. All of these themes are explored in Islands of the Arctic, richly illustrated with superb photographs from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Greenland, Svalbard and the Russian Arctic. It begins with the various processes shaping the landscape: glaciers, rivers and coastal processes, the role of ice in the oceans and the weather and climate. The flora and fauna are described, and the human impact on this fragile region; from the sustainable approach of the Inuit, to the devastating damage inflicted by hunters and in the cause of military security. Finally, the future prospects of the region are considered. This book will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in remote landscapes.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521813334
ISBN-10: 0521813336
Format: Hardback
(250mm x 250mm x 24mm)
Pages: 298
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 25-Nov-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » The Arctic spreads out from the North Pole, over Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia and Alaska. Its barren but beautiful islands represent one of the Earth's last wilderness areas, a region characterized by great mountains and glaciers, in which plants, animals and a few brave humans eke out a precarious existence in delicate balance with their harsh environment. Authors Julian Dowdeswell and Michael Hambrey are geologists specializing in glaciology and winners of the Queen's Polar Medal, so it's no surprise that they choose to concentrate on geography, geology and climatic conditions. They describe the evolution of the physical landscape of the Arctic through its 4000 million-year history, the formation and influence of glaciers and ice sheets, icebergs and sea ice, frost action and atmospheric effects, as well as the geological processes that continue to affect the region today. But this is also a part of the globe with a long history of human exploration and exploitation, an area currently experiencing unprecedented environmental change, and there are chapters on the impact of both scientific and commercial research, the lives of the indigenous peoples (whom we now know as the Inuit) the growth of tourism and the future of the Arctic, as the authors see it. Nor would any book on the Arctic be complete without celebrating its unique and remarkably varied wildlife - for polar bears, reindeer, musk ox, foxes, whales, walrus, seals and many other animals all inhabit the region. Each of these different themes is explored at length in a fabulously well-illustrated tome. With over 200 exquisite photographs, this is an excellent introduction to the Arctic, providing a mine of information for the beginner and a visual feast for the seasoned enthusiast. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Julian Dowdeswell

Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Cambridge Director of the Centre for Glaciology and Professor of Glaciology at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth

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