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


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

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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)



Adventure &rel=0


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

  • Dynamic Ocean Topography of the Greenland Sea: A...
    on October 22, 2018 at 6:02 am

    Dynamic Ocean Topography of the Greenland Sea: A comparison between satellite altimetry and ocean modeling Felix L. Müller, Claudia Wekerle, Denise Dettmering, Marcello Passaro, Wolfgang Bosch, and Florian Seitz The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2018Manuscript under review for TC (discussion: open, 0 comments) The knowledge of the dynamic ocean topography (DOT) enables to study changes of ocean […]

  • Quantifying the snowmelt-albedo feedback at...
    on October 19, 2018 at 6:02 am

    Quantifying the snowmelt-albedo feedback at Neumayer Station, East Antarctica Constantijn L. Jakobs, Carleen H. Reijmer, Peter Kuipers Munneke, Gert König-Langlo, and Michiel R. van den Broeke The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2018Manuscript under review for TC (discussion: open, 0 comments) We use 24 years of observations at Neumayer Station, East Antarctica, to calculate the Surface Energy […]

  • Large carbon cycle sensitivities to climate...
    on October 17, 2018 at 6:02 am

    Large carbon cycle sensitivities to climate across a permafrost thaw gradient in subarctic Sweden Kuang-Yu Chang, William J. Riley, Patrick Crill, Robert F. Grant, Virginia Rich, and Scott Saleska The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2018Manuscript under review for TC (discussion: open, 0 comments) Permafrost peatlands store large amounts of carbon potentially vulnerable to decomposition under changing […]

  • A temperature- and stress-controlled failure...
    on October 17, 2018 at 6:02 am

    A temperature- and stress-controlled failure criterion for ice-filled permafrost rock joints Philipp Mamot, Samuel Weber, Tanja Schröder, and Michael Krautblatter The Cryosphere, 12, 3333-3353,, 2018 Most of the observed failures in permafrost-affected alpine rock walls are likely triggered by the mechanical destabilisation of warming bedrock permafrost including ice-filled joints. […]

  • Intrusion, retention, and snowpack chemical...
    on October 16, 2018 at 6:02 am

    Intrusion, retention, and snowpack chemical effects from exhaust emissions at Concordia Station, Antarctica Detlev Helmig, Daniel Liptzin, Jacques Hueber, and Joel Savarino The Cryosphere Discuss., https//,2018Manuscript under review for TC (discussion: open, 0 comments) We present 15 months of trace gas observations from air withdrawn within the snowpack and from above the snow at Concordia Station […]

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

  • Arctic summer 2018: September extent ties for...
    by Agnieszka Gautier on October 8, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    After starting the year with record lows in January and February, Arctic sea ice extent ended tied with 2008 for the sixth lowest average September extent in the satellite record. The 2018 minimum extent was reached on both September 19 and 23. … Continue reading &rarr […]

  • Arctic sea ice extent arrives at its minimum
    by Agnieszka Gautier on September 27, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    On September 19 and 23, Arctic sea ice appeared to have reached its seasonal minimum extent for the year, at 4.59 million square kilometers (1.77 million square miles). This ties 2018 with 2008 and 2010 for the sixth lowest minimum … Continue reading &rarr […]

  • Nearing the Arctic’s seasonal minimum
    by Natasha Vizcarra on September 19, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    The seasonal minimum of Arctic sea ice extent is imminent; extent at the minimum is likely to be the sixth lowest in the satellite record, tied with 2008. Overview of conditions On September 17, Arctic sea ice extent stood at 4.60 … Continue reading &rarr […]

  • No endless summer in the Arctic
    by Agnieszka Gautier on September 4, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    With the waning of Arctic summer, the seasonal decrease in sea ice extent has slowed. At this time of the year, the extent is the highest it has been since 2014. Nevertheless, sea ice extent remains well below the interdecile … Continue reading &rarr […]

  • Approaching autumn, pace slows
    by Agnieszka Gautier on August 15, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    After declining rapidly through July, sea ice extent decline slowed during the first two weeks of August. A new record September minimum is highly unlikely. Our 2018 projection for the sea ice minimum extent falls between the fourth and ninth lowest … Continue reading &rarr […] - 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.

  • Climate models fail to simulate recent...
    on October 16, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Climatologists may be unable to accurately predict regional climate change over the North Atlantic because computer model simulations have failed to accurately include air pressure changes that have taken place in the Greenland region over the last three decades. […]

  • IPCC, the world's top authority on climate science
    on October 1, 2018 at 6:50 am

    The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which compiles comprehensive reviews of climate science, meets this week to vet and validate a report on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). […]

  • Image: São Miguel
    on September 21, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    The Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite takes us over the largest island of the Azores: São Miguel. Resting at the intersection of the Eurasian, African and North American tectonic plates, the Azores form a string of volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, some 1500 km west of mainland Portugal. The nine major islands are divided into three groups, with São Miguel falling into the eastern group. […]

  • Propping up glaciers to avoid cataclysmic sea...
    on September 20, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    As global warming outpaces efforts to tame it, scientists have proposed building massive underwater structures to prevent an Antarctic glacier the size of Britain from sliding into the sea and lifting the world's oceans by several metres. […]

  • Scientists ID three causes of Earth's spin axis...
    on September 20, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    A typical desk globe is designed to be a geometric sphere and to rotate smoothly when you spin it. Our actual planet is far less perfect—in both shape and in rotation. […]