“The Melting World” to be Released in September



By Christopher White

Climate change often seems to happen in polar regions, far from U.S. shores. Yet there is another impact of global warming—one much closer to home—that spells trouble for Americans: the possible extinction of alpine glaciers in the Rocky Mountains. The epicenter of the crisis is Glacier National Park, Montana, whose peaks once held one-hundred-and-fifty glaciers. Only twenty-five survive. THE MELTING WORLD: A Journey Across America’s Vanishing Glaciers (St. Martin’s Press; September 2013; $26.99) is a compelling portrait of Dan Fagre, a climate scientist and ecologist, whose work shows that these alpine glaciers are vanishing faster than expected. In 2003, he predicted the remaining glaciers had thirty years left—till 2033. Ten years later he has revised his forecast to 2020—a decade or less from now. What are the consequences of such a rapid retreat of glacial ice? Can the loss be reversed?

Part adventure story, part environmental saga, THE MELTING WORLD tracks Fagre as he and author Christopher White climb to the high peaks to take the pulse of Montana’s glaciers, snowfields, and the watersheds below. Already, impacts are startling and widespread, from runaway forest fires, declining trout streams, and endangered lynx to shifting treelines and dwindling water reserves. The Park provides a window into the future of climate impacts for mountain ranges around the globe.

Alpine glaciers have already begun to disappear worldwide: The Alps, Andes, Cascades, Rockies, and Himalayas are suffering staggering losses. Glaciers provide more than fifty percent of our freshwater needs worldwide—for drinking, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. What’s more, alpine ice feeds innumerable watersheds that harbor ecosystems crucial to fish and wildlife. THE MELTING WORLD chronicles the first extinction of a mountain ecosystem in what is expected to be a series of such global calamities as glaciers vanish at home and abroad. In the alpine world, little is immune from global warming.

“Come walk the ice at the top of the continent with Christopher White, before it’s all gone. He’s the best kind of company on the trail and will guide you to breathtaking terrain, fascinating ecologies, and a glimpse of the future that demands your urgent attention.”

–William deBuys, author of A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest

More information about The Melting World at St Martin’s Press