To Say ‘Deep Water’ is a Great Read is Selling it Short

Dan Grossman

How high and how fast will sea level rise? It’s a hugely important question: the ocean is creeping ever higher thanks to global warming, posing a growing threat to life and property all over the world. The current consensus says sea level should go up another 3 feet or so by 2100, a disastrous enough scenario that would put many millions of people at risk in the U.S. alone. But some experts suggest the rise could be as much as 16 feet, which could make cities — including New York, Shanghai and Mumbai — virtually unlivable.

Its obviously important to nail down the number, and one way scientists do that is to look to the past, to see how climate and sea level matched up during ancient episodes of warming and cooling. It’s the search for ancient shorelines that’s at the core of Deep Water, a terrific new e-book by veteran journalist Dan Grossman. The central narrative involves a research expedition across Australia led by Maureen Raymo, a scientist based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Grossman traveled with Raymo and her crew for a month, getting to know the scientists and learning about what they do, how they do it, and why it’s so important.

What makes the book so extraordinary is not simply the writing, which is pretty great. This isn’t just a plain-text Kindle-type ebook, however (although you can get it in that form if you prefer). It’s a full-fledged multimedia production that includes video (Grossman is an accomplished videographer), slide shows, maps and more. The multimedia version is only available on the iPhone, iPad and iPod at this point, and you have to download the Tedbooks app to get it.

At $2.99, it’s more than worth it. You’ll truly understand why rising seas are such a big deal, and you’ll be hugely entertained along the way.