Cryosphere: Where the World Is Frozen

The word “cryosphere” originates from the Greek word kryos, meaning cold, and refers to low-temperature elements of weather such as ice and snow. The Earth’ s cryosphere includes sea ice, freshwater ice, snow, glaciers, frozen ground and permafrost. The National Snow and Ice Center Web site at the University of Colorado provides information about changes in the cryosphere and global climate and resources for teachers and students.

Educational sites include:
All About Glaciers Glaciers and ice sheets cover about 10 percent of the Earth’s land area. Glaciers are large, thickened masses of ice that accumulate from snowfall over long periods of time.

All About Sea Ice Sea ice is simply frozen ocean water. It forms, grows, and melts in the ocean. Many polar mammals and polar communities depend on sea ice for habitat.

Arctic Climatology and Meteorology Primer Climate is defined as statistical weather information taken at one place for a specified interval. Learn about arctic weather patterns and what determines weather and climate.

All About Snow, Avalanches, and Blizzards Seasonal snow cover, the largest component of the cryosphere, covers up to 33 percent of the Earth’s total land surface.

State Publications Library Staff
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