A Deep History
Eelco J. Rohling Princeton University Press (NOVEMBER) Hardcover $29.95 (264pp), 978-0-691-16891-3
Covering the inception of the earth to the modern day, The Oceans comprehensively describes the development and many epochs of the ocean. These include the major extinction events, the interaction between the oceans and planetary temperature throughout history, how geology plays in, and how life has affected the oceans. The result is a grand tour of the earth’s history, mind-bogglingly large and complex as it is. The final chapter and epilogue deal with humancaused climate change.
The Oceans is extremely thorough, appropriately so for a topic of such profundity. The book also covers a tremendous amount of ground with dizzying speed. It is billed as a layman-friendly introduction to the ocean, and, considering the vastness of the topic, this may indeed be the closest approximation to such a thing. But the sheer amount of information packed into its pages makes this a significant first plunge for newcomers and casual readers. The ideal audience for this book is decidedly academic.
The Oceans successfully conveys the concepts of age and scale that the oceans of the earth represent, as well as their extremely valuable nature as a resource, while putting human activity in context in a way that many other books about climate change fail to achieve. Tying in much of the rest of earth science promotes an unusually robust appreciation of the scale of the planet’s natural rhythms and systems. The examination of climate change as it relates to the oceans will present both experts and nonexperts with a new perspective on how carbon interacts with and affects marine environments.