Cosma Home > Communication > Knowledge > Realm > Terrestrial > Sphere > Ice


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

  • Response of downstream lakes to Aru glacier...
    on January 14, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Response of downstream lakes to Aru glacier collapses on the western Tibetan Plateau Yanbin Lei, Tandong Yao, Lide Tian, Yongwei Sheng, Lazhu, Jingjuan Liao, Huabiao Zhao, Wei Yang, Kun Yang, Etienne Berthier, Fanny Brun, Yang Gao, Meilin Zhu, and Guangjian Wu The Cryosphere, 15, 199–214,, 2021 Two glaciers in the Aru range, western Tibetan Plateau (TP), collapsed suddenly on 17 July […]

  • On the 2011 record low Arctic sea ice thickness:...
    on January 14, 2021 at 6:37 am

    On the 2011 record low Arctic sea ice thickness: a combination of dynamic and thermodynamic anomalies Xuewei Li, Qinghua Yang, Lejiang Yu, Paul R. Holland, Chao Min, Longjiang Mu, and Dake Chen The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2021Preprint under review for TC (discussion: open, 0 comments) The Arctic sea ice thickness record minimum is confirmed occurring in autumn 2011. The dynamic and thermodynamic […]

  • Contrasting regional variability of buried...
    on January 13, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Contrasting regional variability of buried meltwater extent over two years across the Greenland Ice Sheet Devon Dunmire, Alison F. Banwell, Jan T. M. Lenaerts, and Rajashree Tri Datta The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2021Preprint under review for TC (discussion: open, 0 comments) Here, we automatically detect buried lakes (meltwater lakes buried below layers of snow) across the Greenland Ice Sheet, […]

  • Spectral characterization, radiative forcing and...
    on January 13, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Spectral characterization, radiative forcing and pigment content of coastal Antarctic snow algae: approaches to spectrally discriminate red and green communities and their impact on snowmelt Alia L. Khan, Heidi M. Dierssen, Ted A. Scambos, Juan Höfer, and Raul R. Cordero The Cryosphere, 15, 133–148,, 2021 We present radiative forcing (RF) estimates by snow algae in the Antarctic […]

  • Recent North Greenland temperature warming and...
    on January 11, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Recent North Greenland temperature warming and accumulation Helle Astrid Kjær, Patrick Zens, Ross Edwards, Martin Olesen, Ruth Mottram, Gabriel Lewis, Christian Terkelsen Holme, Samuel Black, Kasper Holst Lund, Mikkel Schmidt, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Bo Vinther, Anders Svensson, Nanna Karlsson, Jason E. Box, Sepp Kipfstuhl, and Paul Vallelonga The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2021Preprint under review for TC (discussion: open, […]

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

  • Ho, ho, ho-hum December
    by Audrey Payne on January 5, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    The Arctic climate was extraordinary in 2020, but the year ended with a less spectacular December. Ice growth was faster than average throughout the month, but extent at month’s end remained among the lowest in the satellite record. Air temperatures for … Continue reading →

  • Persistently peculiar
    by Agnieszka Gautier on December 2, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Entering December, which is the start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, sea ice extent remains far below average, dominated by the lack of ice on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the Arctic Ocean. As was the case for … Continue reading →

  • Ocean waves in November—in the Arctic
    by Audrey Payne on November 4, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    A vast area of the Arctic Ocean remains ice free as November begins, far later in the season than is typical. The monthly average ice extent for October is the lowest in the satellite record. On October 24, a record … Continue reading →

  • Lingering seashore days
    by Agnieszka Gautier on October 5, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Following the sea ice extent minimum on September 15, 2020, expansion of the ice edge has been most notable in the northern Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The ice edge along the Laptev Sea continued to retreat farther. Antarctic sea ice has … Continue reading →

  • 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 → - 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.

  • Scientists summarize hydrological basis and...
    on December 29, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Cryohydrology has been defined as hydrology involving low temperatures, which has broadened with the development of cryospheric science and now involves hydrological processes of various cryosphere elements systematically coupled with river basin hydrological processes. However, limited studies have introduced the characteristics and discipline comprising cryohydrology from the perspective of cryospheric science.

  • Long-term permafrost record details Arctic thaw
    on December 16, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Frozen Arctic soils are set to release vast amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere as they continue to thaw in coming decades. Despite concerns that this will fuel future global warming, the scale and speed of this important climate process remain uncertain. To help address this knowledge gap, ESA-funded researchers have developed and released a new permafrost dataset—the longest, satellite-derived permafrost record currently available.

  • The melting of the Greenland ice sheet could lead...
    on December 15, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    A new study, headed by researchers from the Universities of Liège and Oslo, applyies the latest climate models, of which the MAR predicts a 60% greater melting of the Greenland ice sheet than previously predicted. This is important data that will be included in the next IPCC report. The study is published in Nature Communications.

  • Greenland ice sheet faces irreversible melting
    on December 2, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    In a study published this week in The Cryosphere, researchers from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and University of Reading demonstrate how climate change could lead to irreversible sea level rise as temperatures continue to rise and the Greenland ice sheet continues to decline.

  • Watching the Arctic thaw in fast-forward
    on December 1, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    The Arctic is warming more quickly than almost any other region on Earth as a result of climate change. One of the better known: the continually shrinking summer sea-ice extent in the Arctic. But global warming is also leaving its mark on terrestrial permafrost. For several years, permafrost regions have been thawing more and more intensively in North America, Scandinavia and Siberia—e.g. in the extreme northwest of Alaska. Permafrost is soil that has remained permanently frozen to depths of […]