What is the Cryosphere?

iciclesSome places on Earth are so cold that water is a solid—ice or snow. Scientists call these frozen places of our planet the cryosphere. Find out why changes in the cryosphere matter all over the world.

There's something for everyone here—from glaciologists to grade school students. All About Glaciers explores nearly all aspects of glaciers including data and science, facts, a photo gallery, a glossary, and more.

frozen groundWhat happens when the ground freezes solid, and what happens when it thaws? Find out how frozen ground works, and how it makes a difference all over the world.

 How big can snowflakes get? Why is snow white? Is it ever too cold to snow? Explore these questions and more in All About Snow.

sea iceTake some time to explore the the characteristics and different forms of sea ice. Why is it so important to our environment, and how do scientists study it? Sample images from data illustrate how scientists learn about sea ice.

The Arctic is a special region for weather and climate. Get the facts on meteorology and climate in the far North.

Defining the Cryosphere:

When scientists talk about the cryosphere, they mean the places where water is in its solid form, frozen into ice or snow.

People most often think of Earth's frozen regions as being at the top and bottom of our planet, in the polar regions. We call the area around the North Pole the Arctic and the area around the South Pole the Antarctic. But snow, ice and frozen ground are also found at many other locations on Earth. Read more ...