Cryosphere

What is it?

The Cryosphere refers to the portions of the Earth’s surface where water is present in a solid state. It is a subset of the hydrosphere that represents all the ice on Earth: snow, glaciers, ice caps, ice floes and icebergs.

The Cryosphere is the planet’s main stock of cold, which is then redistributed through winds and ocean currents. It is one of the main regulators of the Earth’s temperature.


Etymology

Cryosphere derives from the Greek “kryos” meaning “cold” or “ice”.


Did you know ?

Albedo (from Latin “whiteness”) is the reflective power of a surface. When a surface has “high albedo” it means that it does not absorb much solar energy but reflects it back. On the contrary, a surface with “low albedo” absorbs a lot of solar energy and does not reflect much of it back.

Light surfaces tend to have higher albedo than dark surfaces. This is why it is better to wear light-coloured clothes in the summer. This is also why urban cities tend to be a few degrees hotter than rural or suburban areas: more dark infrastructures (like asphalt) and lack of vegetation (trees absorb solar energy) mean heat is absorbed, trapped and generated.

Ice and snow, with high albedo, help regulate the earth’s temperature. However, when melting, the water they produce absorbs heat (lower albedo), thus melting even more ice and snow.


Scientific specialities

Most of these specialities below are featured in our flagship card game 7 SPHERES®

Glaciology


Glaciology is the study of the cryosphere. Analysis of all the ice and snow on planet Earth. Understanding of frost and thaw cycles and dynamics. Modelling their evolution according to climate disruption.

Glaciovolcanology



Analysis of volcanic eruptions, magmas and lavas of the glacial and periglacial regions. Research on subglacial volcanoes, as in Iceland, Antarctic or Canada.

Glaciotectonic



Study of changes to tectonic plates under the pressure of the glaciers. Analysis of distortion and erosion of the crust and prediction of ice movement.

Glaciomorphology



Study of the different types and forms of glaciers. Analysis of how weather (temperature and wind) and climate change influence their evolution.

Paleoglaciology



Science of the glaciers’ dynamics and evolution throughout geological eras. Understanding the glaciation periods to improve climate forecast.

Geocryology



Study of the composition and properties of frozen rocks, soil and ground, including the modelling of the impact of climate disruption.

Glaciochemistry


It is snow and ice chemistry. The analysis of impurities contained in the snow and ice of the polar regions allows us to understand the past and current compositions of the atmosphere.