Summary and book reviews of The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell

The Water Will Come

Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World

by Jeff Goodell

The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell X
The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2017, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2018, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Chris Fredrick

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Book Summary

An eye-opening and essential tour of the vanishing world.

What if Atlantis wasn't a myth, but an early precursor to a new age of great flooding? Across the globe, scientists and civilians alike are noticing rapidly rising sea levels, and higher and higher tides pushing more water directly into the places we live, from our most vibrant, historic cities to our last remaining traditional coastal villages. With each crack in the great ice sheets of the Arctic and Antarctica, and each tick upwards of Earth's thermometer, we are moving closer to the brink of broad disaster.

By century's end, hundreds of millions of people will be retreating from the world's shores as our coasts become inundated and our landscapes transformed. From island nations to the world's major cities, coastal regions will disappear. Engineering projects to hold back the water are bold and may buy some time. Yet despite international efforts and tireless research, there is no permanent solution-no barriers to erect or walls to build-that will protect us in the end from the drowning of the world as we know it.

The Water Will Come is the definitive account of the coming water, why and how this will happen, and what it will all mean. As he travels across twelve countries and reports from the front lines, acclaimed journalist Jeff Goodell employs fact, science, and first-person, on-the-ground journalism to show vivid scenes from what already is becoming a water world.

1 . THE OLDEST STORY EVER TOLD

The R/V Knorr was a storied ship in the annals of science, known for its ability to take a pounding in rough seas and its unusual arrangement of propellers in the bow and stern that made it highly maneuverable. Scientists had used the Knorr, a 244 -foot steel-hulled research vessel that was operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, for thousands of research expeditions around the world, including one that led to the discovery of the wreck of the RMS Titanic. A few years ago, I spent a month aboard the Knorr. On my trip, we were looking for nothing more glamorous than good, thick mud on the floor of the North Atlantic. By drilling cores in the mud and analyzing the shells of creatures buried within it, researchers can better understand past ocean temperature and salinity, which are important as scientists attempt to reconstruct the history of the Earth's climate.

Most of our time was spent cruising around the Bermuda Rise, a cluster of ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The Water Will Come is an important book, regardless of where you live. It moves the conversation from a nebulous debate on "climate change" to a concrete set of data points that signal danger in the rising tides. [It] provides historical background on climate change, introduces the work of climatologists, and describes the many costs associated with rising oceans. Goodell writes, "Sea-level rise is one of the central facts of our time, as real as gravity. It will reshape our world in ways most of us can only dimly imagine."   (Reviewed by Chris Fredrick).

Full Review Members Only (834 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Obama understood how important it was to fight climate change but advocated pragmatism. Perusing Goodell's alarming examination, readers may question the wisdom of such an approach.

Library Journal
Anyone worried about the planet should check this one out, and coastal residents in particular should read this and consider their options.

Booklist
Starred Review. In this engaging book, environmental writer Goodell points out that while sea levels have always risen and fallen, the current rise is driven primarily by the dramatically accelerating melting of the arctic ice caps, and with so many cities on seashores, this will be devastating.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A frightening, scientifically grounded, and starkly relevant look at how climate change will affect coastal cities.

Author Blurb Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of The Sixth Extinction
Jeff Goodell has taken on some of the most important issues of our time, from coal mining to geoengineering. In The Water Will Come, he explains the threat of sea level rise with characteristic rigor and intelligence. The result is at once deeply persuasive and deeply unsettling.

Author Blurb John F. Kerry
Jeff Goodell's latest contribution to the environmental cause paints an eye-opening portrait of humankind's dilemma as temperatures - and sea levels - continue to rise. The Water Will Come brings together compelling anecdotes from all over the globe and shocking expert assessments that should make the world's few remaining skeptics reconsider. Read this book for a reminder of the stakes - right now, today - and why we have to work harder, faster, to address the climate challenge.

Author Blurb Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Sea level rise is coming. We know this as clearly as we know thermometer measurements, the melting point of ice, and the law of thermal expansion. Jeff Goodell's book cuts through the fossil-fuel lies, and is a warning I hope we heed while there's still time.

Author Blurb Peter Bergen, author of United States of Jihad and Manhunt
A deeply reported and very well-written account of how rising sea levels are reshaping our world. Goodell has written a powerful call to arms that is never preachy but is a very timely reminder that we ignore how climate change is raising sea levels only at great risk to our way of life.

Author Blurb Laurence C. Smith, author of The World in 2050
Even if we could halt further growth in greenhouse gas emissions today, we would remain locked into several centuries of sea level rise ahead. Jeff Goodell's The Water Will Come shows us how this stark truth will unfold, right down to individual human experiences.

Author Blurb Chris Hayes, MSNBC
"For people who want to learn more about climate change, rising sea levels and what it means for our future, read The Water Will Come.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Climatology: Did You Know?

In The Water Will Come, journalist Jeff Goodell shares climatology concepts and active research. Here are some notable concepts introduced in the book:

  • The Keeling Curve, a famous graph named after scientist Charles David Keeling, measures the increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the air since 1958; it is considered the bedrock of global warming science because it is generally believed that there is a direct correlation between increasing levels of carbon dioxide and global warming.
  • Much of the carbon dioxide emitted today will stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
  • As recently as a few decades ago, most scientists believed that the ice sheets were "so big and so indomitable" that humans' burning of fossil fuels would ...

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