Today, Norvergence has decided to talk about the Cryosphere, a collective term used for those parts/portions of Earth’s surface where water is present in solid form (glaciers, snow cover, ice caps, sea ice, lake ice, river ice, ice sheets, etc).
On average, Cryosphere covers a total area of about 68 million km2 till 2014. Antarctica, Arctic, and Greenland are the major regions where Cryosphere found.
Now, you must be thinking why we are talking about this portion of Earth?
In September 2019, more than 100 scientists from 30 countries have released an in-depth analysis, titled, “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate”
In it, they talked about how climate change is affecting oceans and the Cryosphere (in terms of what they observed and what are the problems and risks that we need to address).
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has approved and accepted this report and presented it at the 51st session’s press conference on 25th September 2019.
Why Cryosphere is Important for Earth?
The scientists at Norvergence found that the interactions between ices cover and snow make the cryosphere very important for the global climate. The following are some more benefits that we get from the cryosphere.
- The cryosphere controls the global sea level and cools our planet.
- It also directly affects storm patterns and currents around the world.
- It is also important to study and monitor a variety of societal reasons.
- It is also important as an indicator of past and current climates.
- During seasonal snowmelt, the freshwater is used for drinking and irrigation purposes.
Mechanical, Thermal, and Physical Properties of Permafrost, Snow, and Ice
All three types of properties (thermal, mechanical, and physical) are essential to the numerical modeling and forecasting of some natural hazards.
Out of Permafrost, Snow, and Ice; the last one has the smallest range in thermal (density and conductivity) and physical properties.
Snow has the largest relative range in physical properties, and permafrost has the largest absolute range in thermal properties.
The Impact of Global Warming on Cryosphere
Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC said while quoting the “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate”:
“The oceans and cryosphere, the frozen parts of the planet, might feel very remote to some people, but they impact all of us. This report is showing that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, global warming will drastically alter the ocean and the cryosphere.”
“However, if we reduce emissions sharply, consequences for people and their livelihoods will still be challenging, but they will be potentially more manageable for those who are most vulnerable. The report reveals the benefits of ambitious and effective adaptation for sustainable development. Conversely, there may be escalating costs and risks associated with delayed action.”
How Environmental Groups like Norvergence is responding to this particular threat?
George Stacey which is an environmentalist and a head author at Norvergence applauded this report and request different governments to come together to fight against climate change.
Miriam Goldstein, director of ocean policy at the “Center for American Progress” said: “The report offers more scientific evidence of the impact of climate change and the urgent need for real solutions.”
Also, George Leonard, the chief scientist with the Ocean Conservancy said: “The world needs to take ambitious climate action now.”