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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)



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

  • September turning
    by Agnieszka Gautier on October 5, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    The summer melt season has come to a modest end. The summer of 2021 was relatively cool compared to the most recent years and September extent was the highest since 2014. It was nevertheless an eventful summer, with many twists … Continue reading →

  • Arctic sea ice at highest minimum since 2014
    by Agnieszka Gautier on September 22, 2021 at 11:43 am

    On September 16, Arctic sea ice likely reached its annual minimum extent of 4.72 million square kilometers (1.82 million square miles). The 2021 minimum is the twelfth lowest in the nearly 43-year satellite record. The last 15 years are the lowest 15 … Continue reading →

  • An odd summer’s end
    by Audrey Payne on September 16, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    The Arctic sea ice minimum extent is imminent. After a cool and stormy summer, this year’s minimum extent will be one of the highest of the past decade, despite the amount of multiyear ice standing at a near-record low. A … Continue reading →

  • Beaufort breakup
    by Audrey Payne on September 2, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    Arctic sea ice extent declined more slowly during August 2021 than most years in the past decade, and as a result, this year’s September minimum extent will likely be among the highest since 2007. Part of the reason for this … Continue reading →

  • On the home stretch
    by Agnieszka Gautier on August 18, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    Sea ice loss during the first half of August stalled, though ice in the Beaufort Sea is finally starting to weaken. The Northern Sea Route appears closed off in 2021, despite being open each summer since 2008. Overview of conditions As … 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.

  • Pro­jection of extre­me rain­fall impro­ved
    on October 22, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    Mapping the effects of mostly small-scale but extreme rainfall events in global climate models poses major challenges. Computer models that are used to simulate the global climate, for example in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), usually have a resolution of grids with a scale of approximately 100x100 kilometers.

  • Scientific team uncovers additional threat to...
    on September 27, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Glaciologists at the University of California, Irvine and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have examined the dynamics underlying the calving of the Delaware-sized iceberg A68 from Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf in July 2017, finding the likely cause to be a thinning of ice melange, a slushy concoction of windblown snow, iceberg debris and frozen seawater that normally works to heal rifts.

  • Preserved penguin poop reveals past Antarctic...
    on September 20, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Preserved penguin poop may be the key to connecting past Antarctic Ocean conditions and penguin populations, shedding light on how the birds and the region's ecosystem might fare as the climate changes.  

  • Scientists cite destructive dangers of climate...
    on September 1, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    In a new paper in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, seven researchers hailing from five countries have called for greater attention to the destructive potential and recent history of disasters seen in the world's mountain ranges, including places like the Himalaya and Andes. 

  • Predicting climate anomalies: A real challenge
    on August 31, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    Climate change and meteorological disasters have become grave challenges to human beings. Because of global warming and the increasing extreme weather and climate events it has caused, meteorological disasters have led to worsening socioeconomic damage throughout the world in recent decades. The United Nations reported that, between 1998 and 2017, disaster-hit countries experienced direct economic losses of US$ 2.9 trillion, of which climate-related disasters caused 77% of the total. The […]