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Cyrosphere (National Ocean Service, NOAA)
Cryospheric Animations (NASA Scientific Visualization Studio)



Terrestrial (Earth)
Sphere Land, Ice, Water (Ocean), Air, Life (Cell, Gene, Microscope)
Ecosystem Forest, Grassland, Desert, Arctic, Aquatic

Tree of Life
Plant Flower, Tree
Invertebrate Octopus, Ant, Bee, Butterfly, Spider, Lobster
Vertebrate Fish, Seahorse, Ray, Shark, Frog, Turtle, Tortoise, Dinosaur
Bird, Ostrich, Owl, Crow, Parrot
Mammal Bat, Rabbit, Giraffe, Camel, Horse, Elephant, Mammoth
Whale, Dolphin, Walrus, Seal, Polar Bear, Bear, Cat, Tiger, Lion, Dog, Wolf
Monkey, Chimpanzee, Human


These are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma. More…



National Snow Ice Data Center


ice : a sheet or stretch of ice — Webster

OneLook, Free Dictionary, Wiktionary, Urban Dictionary


Ice is water frozen into a solid state. Depending on the presence of impurities such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less opaque bluish-white color.

In the Solar System, ice is abundant and occurs naturally from as close to the Sun as Mercury to as far away as the Oort cloud objects. Beyond the Solar System, it occurs as interstellar ice. It is abundant on Earth’s surface – particularly in the polar regions and above the snow line – and, as a common form of precipitation and deposition, plays a key role in Earth’s water cycle and climate. It falls as snowflakes and hail or occurs as frost, icicles or — Wikipedia

Cryosphere consists of those portions of Earth’s surface where water is in solid form, including sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, and frozen ground (which includes permafrost). Thus, there is a wide overlap with the hydrosphere. The cryosphere is an integral part of the global climate system with important linkages and feedbacks generated through its influence on surface energy and moisture fluxes, clouds, precipitation, hydrology, atmospheric and oceanic circulation. Through these feedback processes, the cryosphere plays a significant role in the global climate and in climate model response to global changes. The term deglaciation describes the retreat of cryospheric features. — Wikipedia

Glacier is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight; it forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation (melting and sublimation) over many years, often centuries. Glaciers slowly deform and flow due to stresses induced by their weight, creating crevasses, seracs, and other distinguishing features. They also abrade rock and debris from their substrate to create landforms such as cirques and moraines. Glaciers form only on land and are distinct from the much thinner sea ice and lake ice that form on the surface of bodies of water.

On Earth, 99% of glacial ice is contained within vast ice sheets (also known as “continental glaciers”) in the polar regions, but glaciers may be found in mountain ranges on every continent including Oceania’s high-latitude oceanic islands such as New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Between 35°N and 35°S, glaciers occur only in the Himalayas, Andes, Rocky Mountains, a few high mountains in East Africa, Mexico, New Guinea and on Zard Kuh in Iran. Glaciers cover about 10 percent of Earth’s land surface. Continental glaciers cover nearly 13 million km2 (5 million sq mi) or about 98 percent of Antarctica’s 13.2 million km2 (5.1 million sq mi), with an average thickness of 2,100 m (7,000 ft). Greenland and Patagonia also have huge expanses of continental glaciers.

Glacial ice is the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth. Many glaciers from temperate, alpine and seasonal polar climates store water as ice during the colder seasons and release it later in the form of meltwater as warmer summer temperatures cause the glacier to melt, creating a water source that is especially important for plants, animals and human uses when other sources may be scant. Within high-altitude and Antarctic environments, the seasonal temperature difference is often not sufficient to release meltwater. — Wikipedia


Quick facts about the Cryosphere (National Snow and Ice Data Center)



Why does our planet experience an ice age every 100,000 years? (Cardiff University,


Ancient ice reveals vital clues about Earth’s past climate (Dan Elliott,
National Ice Core Facility (National Science Foundation)


WorldCat, Library of Congress, UPenn Online Books, Open Library




OER Commons: Open Educational Resources



The Cryosphere Journal (European Geosciences Union)
National Snow Ice Data Center,




IceBridge Mission (NASA)
Operation IceBridge (Wikipedia)




Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort (Saariselka, Finland)

Hôtel de Glace (Quebec City, Canada)
Icehotel, Sweden (Jukkasjärvi, Sweden)



Photographing Frozen Baikal: The Deepest and Oldest Lake On Earth (Kristina Makeeva, Petapixel)



TC - recent papers Combined list of the recent articles of the journal The Cryosphere and the recent discussion forum The Cryosphere Discussions

  • Impact of updated radiative transfer scheme in...
    on September 30, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Impact of updated radiative transfer scheme in RACMO2.3p3 on the surface mass and energy budget of the Greenland ice sheet Christiaan T. van Dalum, Willem Jan van de Berg, and Michiel R. van den Broeke The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2020Preprint under review for TC (discussion: open, 0 comments) Absorption of solar radiation is often limited to the surface in regional climate models. Therefore, we […]

  • Possible biases in scaling-based estimates of...
    on September 29, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Possible biases in scaling-based estimates of glacier change: a case study in the Himalaya Argha Banerjee, Disha Patil, and Ajinkya Jadhav The Cryosphere, 14, 3235–3247,, 2020 Simple models of glacier dynamics based on volume–area scaling underestimate climate sensitivity and response time of glaciers. Consequently, they may predict a faster response and a smaller long-term glacier […]

  • Rapid and accurate polarimetric radar...
    on September 28, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Rapid and accurate polarimetric radar measurements of ice crystal fabric orientation at theWestern Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide deep ice core site Tun Jan Young, Carlos Martín, Poul Christoffersen, Dustin M. Schroeder, Slawek M. Tulaczyk, and Eliza J. Dawson The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2020Preprint under review for TC (discussion: open, 0 comments) If the molecules that make up ice are […]

  • Permafrost thaw couples slopes with downstream...
    on September 28, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Permafrost thaw couples slopes with downstream systems and effects propagate through Arctic drainage networks Steven V. Kokelj, Justin Kokoszka, Jurjen van der Sluijs, Ashley C. A. Rudy, John Tunnicliffe, Sarah Shakil, Suzanne Tank, and Scott Zolkos The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2020Preprint under review for TC (discussion: open, 0 comments) We address knowledge gaps in the understanding the […]

  • Spatial and temporal variations in snow chemistry...
    on September 25, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Spatial and temporal variations in snow chemistry along a traverse from coastal East Antarctica to the ice sheet summit (Dome A) Guitao Shi, Hongmei Ma, Zhengyi Hu, Zhenlou Chen, Chunlei An, Su Jiang, Yuansheng Li, Tianming Ma, Jinhai Yu, Danhe Wang, Siyu Lu, Bo Sun, and Meredith G. Hastings The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2020Preprint under review for TC (discussion: open, 0 comments) It is […]

Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis Sea ice data updated daily with one-day lag

  • Arctic sea ice decline stalls out at second...
    by Agnieszka Gautier on September 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    On September 15, Arctic sea ice likely reached its annual minimum extent of 3.74 million square kilometers (1.44 million square miles). The minimum ice extent is the second lowest in the 42-year-old satellite record, reinforcing the long-term downward trend in Arctic ice extent. Sea … Continue reading →

  • Suddenly in second place
    by Audrey Payne on September 16, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    In the first week of September, sea ice extent took a sharp downward turn, exceeding the pace of decline for any previous year during that period, and placing the 2020 sea ice minimum firmly as second lowest—after 2012—in the 42-year continuous … Continue reading →

  • Tapping the brakes
    by Agnieszka Gautier on September 2, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    After a period of rapid sea ice loss extending into the last week of August, the rate has slowed with the onset of autumn in the Arctic. A region of low concentration ice persists in the Beaufort Sea. How much … Continue reading →

  • Summer’s last stand
    by Audrey Payne on August 18, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    While the Arctic summer is waning, sea ice extent continues to drop. In early August, ice-free pockets began to develop in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and expanded steadily through the first half of the month. Overview of conditions Sea … Continue reading →

  • Steep decline sputters out
    by Audrey Payne on August 4, 2020 at 8:02 am

    The fast pace of ice loss observed in the beginning of July continued through the third week of July, after which the ice loss rates slowed dramatically. Above-average air temperatures and extensive melt pond development helped to keep the overall … Continue reading → - latest science and technology news stories internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

  • Worsening rifts and fractures spotted at two of...
    on September 30, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Satellite imagery has revealed that two of the fastest-changing glaciers in Antarctica are fracturing and weakening faster than ever—the first step towards the glaciers disintegrating and causing sea levels to rise dramatically.

  • Image: Tarawa, Kiribati
    on September 25, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over the Tarawa Atoll in the Republic of Kiribati – a remote Pacific nation threatened by rising seas.

  • Active layer in different freeze-thaw stages...
    on September 25, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Soil respiration is a significant indicator for estimating the terrestrial carbon budget under climate change. It is the second-largest source of carbon emissions to the atmosphere from the terrestrial ecosystem on a global scale.

  • Plans underway for new polar ice and snow...
    on September 21, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Monitoring the cryosphere is essential to fully assess, predict and adapt to climate variability and change. Given the importance of this fragile component of the Earth system, today ESA, along with Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space, have signed a contract to develop the Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter mission, known as CRISTAL.

  • Experts calculate future ice loss and sea-level...
    on September 17, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    Ice-sheet models are an essential tool in making predictions regarding the future of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets. Nevertheless, these models still have a number of weaknesses. In an international model comparison, 14 research groups fed their ice-sheet models the same atmospheric and ocean data, and calculated what additional amounts of sea-level rise Greenland and the Antarctic would contribute by the year 2100. For Greenland, the results are consistent: if greenhouse-gas emissions […]