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Looking for facts and information? See About the Cryosphere.
Icelights: Answers to your burning questions about ice and climate
What's hot in the news around climate and sea ice and what are scientists talking about now? Read more...
What is the Cryosphere?
When scientists talk about the cryosphere, they mean the places on Earth where water is in its solid form, frozen into ice or snow. Read more ...
Although scientists have already learned much about snow properties, they continue to study snow. For instance, the layers of very old snow in places like Greenland and Antarctica can reveal valuable information about past climate conditions. Here, researcher Zoe Courville takes samples in a snow pit in Antarctica.
—Credit: Ted Scambos and Rob Bauer, NSIDC
Although snow only occurs in certain parts of the world, it has far-reaching affects on regional weather patterns. By studying snow, how it forms, where it falls, and how the snowpack changes over time, scientists can help improve storm forecasting and learn more about how snow and weather interact. Scientists also study global snow cover to understand how changes in snow cover affect climate, glaciers, and water supplies around the world.
Education Resources: Online map tools, video, printed, and printable materials. Photographs, animations, and more.
Cryosphere Glossary: Find terms and definitions relating to snow and ice.
Cold Links: Search for Earth system education materials.
Is there fresh snow at the ski hill? Visit NSIDC Scientist Drew Slater's site for SNOTEL station snow data in the Western U.S., updated hourly.