Ebb and Flow: Tides and Life on Our Once and Future Planet

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Dundurn, Sep 30, 2007 - Nature - 292 pages

Ebb and Flow was named one of 2007's "best science books" by Peter Calamai, science editor of the Toronto Star [Dec. 30, 2007. He calls it a "wonderful resource book. Tom Koppel seems to have visited or read about every place with unusual tides and water currents, yet he wears this scholarship lightly."

Tides have shaped our world. They have carved out shorelines, transformed early life on Earth, and altered the course of human civilization. Tides frustrated Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, and aided General MacArthur. They govern the way our planet moves, provide us with an alternative source of energy, and may be aggravating global climate change.

Drawing on science, history, and personal memories, Koppel's fascinating book engages and enlightens, demonstrating that a subject we take for granted affects all our lives. He weaves together three grand narratives, exploring how tides impact coasts and marine life, how they have altered human history and development, and how science has striven to understand the surprisingly complex way in which tides actually work.


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HIGH WATER AND HISTORY India China and How the Ancient World Learned about the Moon and Tides
LIVING BY THE TIDES Authors Daily Activities Run in Sync with the Local Tide Tables
HEAVEN AND EARTH The Renaissance and Isaac Newtons Great Breakthrough in Tidal Theory
INTO THE MAELSTROM Powerful Tidal Currents Generate Killer Whirlpools
THE SHAPE OF TIDES The Great Variety of Shorelines Created by Different Tidal Regimes
AGE OF DISCOVERY European Explorers Learn How Complex the Tides Can Be
TIDAL TEMPEST FastFlowing Waters Doom Many a Ship
THE GREAT WHEEL OF LIFE High Water and Coastal Biology
SEA AND SKY IN HARMONY Oscillating Waters and Modern Tidal Forecasting
HOLDING BACK THE TIDE How Civilizations Have Coped with High Water and Low
THE BIG PICTURE Climate Change and Worldwide Tidal Patterns
TURNING THE TIDE Tapping the Energy of the Oceans
ONCE AND FUTURE TIDES A Receding Moon and Drifting Continents
A Trip to the Beach

THEORY MEETS PRACTICE Tides as Great Rotating Wave Systems

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Page 23 - For this reason entrance and departure of vessels is very dangerous to those who are inexperienced or who come to this market-town for the first time. For the rush of waters at the incoming tide is irresistible, and the anchors cannot hold against it; so that large ships are caught up by the force of it, turned broadside on through the speed of the current, and so driven on the shoals and wrecked; and smaller boats are overturned ; and those that have been turned aside among the channels by the receding...
Page 22 - Indus. about nine feet at full moon : they flow and ebb with great violence, particularly near the sea, where they flood and abandon the banks with equal and incredible velocity. It is dangerous to drop the anchor but at low water, as the channel is frequently obscured, and the vessel may be left dry.
Page 23 - Barygaza; which lies by the river, about three hundred stadia up from the mouth. 45. Now the whole country of India has very many rivers, and very great ebb and flow of the tides; increasing at the new moon, and at the full moon for three days, and falling off during the intervening days of the moon. But about Barygaza it is much greater, so that the bottom is suddenly seen, and now parts of the dry land are sea, and now it is dry where ships were sailing just before...

About the author (2007)

Tom Koppel has written popular science articles for newspapers, and for journals such as Canadian Geographic, Equinox, Canadian Living, and Reader's Digest. He is the author of the books Lost World: Rewriting Prehistory — How New Science is Tracing America's Ice Age Mariners; Powering the Future: The Ballard Fuel Cell and the Race to Change the World ; and Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest . He lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

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