Understanding Earth’s climate system through the Cryosphere Today’s Video of the Day from NASA Science News describes two space missions that will help scientists to better understand the cryosphere, which is a critical component of Earth’s climate system.
The cryosphere includes all of the forms of ice on our planet such as sea ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice sheets, and frozen ground.
NASA has launched two new missions, GRACE Follow-On (GRACE-FO) and ICESat-2, that use different technologies to provide insight into how the distribution of frozen water influences the water cycle. The cryosphere provides vital information about past, present, and future climate. Ice cores drilled from ice sheets and glaciers provide annual records of temperature, precipitation, atmospheric composition, volcanic activity, and wind patterns going back more than 800,000 years. Many different kinds of snow and ice, including sea ice, lake and river ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice caps and sheets, and frozen ground, make up the cryosphere (a word derived from kryos, the Greek word for cold) — the places on Earth where water exists in solid form. The Earth’s cryosphere is comprised of four elements: glaciers, snow cover, floating ice, and permafrost
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer
Video Credit: NASA Science News