Chronology of climate change -- The cast -- Preface : The chimney -- pt. 1. Welcome to the anthropocene -- The pioneers : the men who measured the planet's breath -- Turning up the heat : a skeptic's guide to climate change -- The year : how the wild weather of 1998 broke all records -- The anthropocene : a new name for a new geological era -- The watchtower : keeping climate vigil on an Arctic island -- pt. 2. Fault lines in the ice -- Ninety degrees north : why melting knows no bounds in the far north -- On the slippery slope : Greenland is slumping into the ocean -- The shelf : down south, shattering ice uncorks the Antarctic -- The Mercer legacy : an Achilles heel at the bottom of the world -- Rising tides : saying "toodle-oo" to Tuvalu -- pt. 3. Riding the carbon cycle -- In the jungle : would we notice if the Amazon went up in smoke? -- Wildfires of Borneo : climate in the mire from burning swamp -- Sink to source : why the carbon cycle is set for a U-turn -- The doomsday device : a lethal secret stirs in the permafrost -- The acid bath : what carbon dioxide does to the oceans -- The winds of change : tsunamis, megafarts, and mountains of the deep. pt. 4. Reflecting on warming -- What's Watts? : Planet Earth's energy imbalance -- Clouds from both sides : uncovering flaws in the climate models -- A billion fires : how brown haze could turn off the monsoon -- Hydroxyl holiday : the day the planet's cleaner didn't show up for work -- pt. 5. Ice ages and solar pulses -- Goldilocks and the three planets : why Earth is "just right" for life -- The big freeze : how a wobble in our orbit triggered the ice ages -- The ocean conveyor : the real day after tomorrow -- An Arctic flower : clues to a climate switchback -- The pulse : how the sun makes climate change -- pt. 6. Tropical heat -- The fall : the end of Africa's golden age -- Seesaw across the ocean : how the Sahara Desert greens the Amazon -- Tropical high : why an ice man is rewriting climate history -- The curse of Akkad : the strange revival of environmental determinism -- A chunk of coral : probing the hidden life of El Niäno -- Feeding Asia : what happens if the monsoon falters? -- pt. 7. At the Millennium -- The heat wave : the year Europe felt the heat of global warming -- The hockey stick : why now really is different -- Hurricane season : raising the storm cones after Katrina -- Ozone holes in the greenhouse : why millions face radiation threat -- pt. 8. Inevitable surprises -- The dance : the poles or the tropics? Who leads in the climatic dance? -- New horizons : feedbacks from the stratosphere -- Conclusion : another planet -- Appendix : The trillion-ton challenge. Fred Pearce has been writing about climate change for eighteen years, and the more he learns, the worse things look. Where once scientists were concerned about gradual climate change, now more and more of them fear we will soon be dealing with abrupt change resulting from triggering hidden tipping points. Even President Bush's top climate modeler, Jim Hansen, warned in 2005 that "we are on the precipice of climate system tipping points beyond which there is no redemption." As Pearce began working on this book, normally cautious scientists beat a path to his door to tell him about their fears and their latest findings. This book tells the stories of these scientists and their work--from the implications of melting permafrost in Siberia and the huge river systems of meltwater beneath the icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica to the effects of the "ocean conveyor" and a rare molecule that runs virtually the entire cleanup system for the planet. Above all, the scientists told him what they're now learning about the speed and violence of past natural climate change--and what it portends for our future. This is the most up-to-date and readable book yet about the growing evidence for global warming and the large climatic effects it may unleash.