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Biology LibreTexts

3.3 The Cryosphere

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  • The cryosphere (from the Greek kryos, meaning "cold", "frost" or "ice" and sphaira, meaning "globe”) is all of Earth’s water that exists in solid form, including ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, and permafrost. Given its sensitivity to warming and the visibility of changes in ice extent, the cryosphere is an important component of climate change research and public communication on climate issues. This section will consider the physical changes to the cryosphere in response to warming temperatures across the globe.