Quick facts, basic science, and information about snow, ice, and why the cryosphere matters

The cryosphere includes all of the snow and ice-covered regions across the planet. Explore our scientific content about what makes up this frozen realm, its importance to Earth's people, plants and animals, and what climate change means for the cryosphere and the world at large.


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Aerial shot from helicopter over mountains near Paradise Bay, Antarctica
A colorful sunset lights up a tundra landscape
Photo of permafrost in Alaska
Moraine band on a glacier in Greenland
Meltwater pools on Greenland Ice Sheet
Ross Ice Shelf
sun over sea ice in Chukchi Sea
Little girl eats snow
Julienne Stroeve on ship in Arctic Ocean
Sea ice in all types of shapes

You might be interested in our scientific analyses and news

Sea ice drifts in various sizes
Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets
Snow falls on a pond in Washington state
Evenki on sled
Emperor penguins