The Big Thaw

Ancient Carbon, Modern Science, and a Race to Save the World

  • 176 pages
  • Braided River
  • 978-1-68051-247-2
  • Sep 25, 2019

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2020 Washington State Book Award Winner in General Nonfiction
2020 Gold Independent Publisher Book Award in Environment & Ecology
2019 Nautilus Grand Award Winner and Gold Winner in the Ecology and Environment
2019 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Honorable Mention in Ecology and Environment

  • 100% of royalties support Woodwell Climate Research Center (formerly known as Woods Hole Research Center)
Permafrost--dark, ice-flaked, permanently frozen ground that lies under tundra and boreal forests across our northern regions--covers more than 12 percent of the earth’s land mass. It exists in places that seem otherworldly and unimaginably remote to most of us, but the changes taking place in the permafrost layer may ultimately affect the lives of every person on Earth.

In The Big Thaw, readers meet a diverse team of scientists and students who have been studying the permafrost and what lies beneath: a vast store of ancient carbon, more than four times the quantity found in all of today’s forests, which is releasing carbon dioxide and methane as the permafrost thaws. The release of all this carbon would alter Earth’s climate forever. Braving endless hordes of mosquitoes, quicksand, and extreme temperatures, the researchers are racing against the clock to educate us all about the changes we must make in order to preserve Earth’s carbon balance.

To learn more about Braided River and its mission: inspiring people to protect wild places through images and stories that change perspectives, please visit


  • 176 pages
  • Braided River
  • 978-1-68051-247-2
  • Sep 25, 2019

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