Similarly to the hydrosphere, that includes all the planet’s water in the liquid state, in any area and in any form that it may be present, or to the biosphere that consists of all the living organisms whatever kingdom they belong to, and whatever area they may live in, the cryosphere includes all the Earth’s ice. When we think of ice, the image that comes to our mind is that of the clean twinkling stretches of the glaciers, however the Earth’s ice may be found in many other forms, which at times are also well “hidden” and, surprisingly, also in unexpected geographic areas such as the centre of Africa!
Almost all the Earth’s ice consists of ice from glaciers or sea ice. Large quantities of frozen ice can also be found in the permafrost areas, trapped in the ground and in the rock crevices, but, as they cannot be seen directly, it is very difficult to quantify their volume and extension. Also caves can contain ice deposits, at times with the characteristics of glacier ice, more often with ice that formed by freezing: generally these are rather small quantities, but they represent a very precious data bank of the climate of the past.

subjects dealt with in Cryosphere

acqua_400x225_0001_il ghiaccio sulla terra

The Earth’s ice

Glaciers may exist only on two conditions: the first, which is quite obvious, is that the annual temperatures must be…

acqua_400x225_0003_dove si trova

Where is ice found?

The “Antarctic ice sheet” actually consists of two distinct ice-sheets. A Western one, which is smaller and is anchored to…

acqua_400x225_0013_il ghiaccio racconta

Glaciers caves

Melting water on a glacier surface collects in small seasonal water streams that erode their bed in the ice, and…

special reports

  • 6 December 2010 / Water

    Research in Antarctica

    A fascinated continent Antarctica is a continent with a very particular charm. It was the last to be discovered and…

    5 February 2005 / Water

    Icebergs

    Vagabonds on the sea Last January, the media gave great importance to the news of the possible collision of a…

    6 December 2010 / Water

    Life in Antarctica

    Moving in Antarctica How is it possible to live and work in Antarctica? Which sagacities must be used for a…

  • 14 December 2011 / Water

    Centenary of the conquest of the South Pole

    The conquest of the South Pole The first centenary of a memorable feat, the conquest of the South Pole, will…

    1 July 2007 / Energy

    Renewable energy in Nepal

    The resources of diversity Nepal is an extremely varied country, with a complex morphology.  It contains different ecosystems in a…

    21 February 2013 / Energy

    Renewable energy in Italy

    Renewable energy sources in Italy The GSE (Gestore dei Servizi Energetici), the Italian energy services management authority, periodically publishes data…

  • 26 February 2014 / Water

    How much water is on your plate?

    Still waters run deep! This proverb reminds us how many times we have heard popular proverbs about water, and how…

    15 April 2014 / Water

    How rich are we .... in blue gold?

    The blue planet: water availability in the world 24 December 1968, a date of historical importance. The Earth was photographed…

    10 March 2006 / Water

    Environment biotech

    Biotechnology Biotechnology can be defined as the application of microbiology, genetic engineering and biochemistry for the treatment of waste materials…

  • 6 December 2010 / Water

    Research in Antarctica

    A fascinated continent Antarctica is a continent with a very particular charm. It was the last to be discovered and…

    5 February 2005 / Water

    Icebergs

    Vagabonds on the sea Last January, the media gave great importance to the news of the possible collision of a…

  • 6 December 2010 / Water

    Life in Antarctica

    Moving in Antarctica How is it possible to live and work in Antarctica? Which sagacities must be used for a…

    14 December 2011 / Water

    Centenary of the conquest of the South Pole

    The conquest of the South Pole The first centenary of a memorable feat, the conquest of the South Pole, will…

  • 1 July 2007 / Energy

    Renewable energy in Nepal

    The resources of diversity Nepal is an extremely varied country, with a complex morphology.  It contains different ecosystems in a…

    21 February 2013 / Energy

    Renewable energy in Italy

    Renewable energy sources in Italy The GSE (Gestore dei Servizi Energetici), the Italian energy services management authority, periodically publishes data…

  • 6 December 2010 / Water

    Research in Antarctica

    A fascinated continent Antarctica is a continent with a very particular charm. It was the last to be discovered and…

  • 5 February 2005 / Water

    Icebergs

    Vagabonds on the sea Last January, the media gave great importance to the news of the possible collision of a…

  • 6 December 2010 / Water

    Life in Antarctica

    Moving in Antarctica How is it possible to live and work in Antarctica? Which sagacities must be used for a…

from the Multimedia section

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curiosities

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    Iceland is characterized by numerous ice-sheets, among which the vast  Vatnajökull (jökull  means glacier in Icelandic); with a surface area…

    City of ice

    The Marmolada glacier in the Dolomites has become famous, notwithstanding its small size, due to a historical fact, that pointed…

    How to become a glaciologist

    A glaciologist is a researcher who studies ice and glaciers: this study can consider different aspects, such as the movement…

  • Ephemeral lakes

    Even big lakes can form on the surface, inside or at the contact with a glacier. Due to the ice…

    Rock glaciers

    In the mountains, also in our Alps, in detrital screes at higher altitudes, it usually can be observed that part…

    Speleologists in the ice

    The fascination of the glacial caves inspired an explorer to write, “ The shapes of glacial caves are spectacular: smooth,…

  • Glacial surges

    Some glaciers are subject to sudden “expansions” called surges: suddenly, without warning and with incredible rapidity, the speed of the…

    Glacier lake outburst floods

    Glacier floods, also known with the Icelandic term, jökulhlaup, are sudden outbursts of enormous quantities of water from within the…

    Water as a percentage

    Only 3% of total water reserves is made up of fresh water, and only 30% of it can be found…

  • Ice and fire

    Iceland is characterized by numerous ice-sheets, among which the vast  Vatnajökull (jökull  means glacier in Icelandic); with a surface area…

    City of ice

    The Marmolada glacier in the Dolomites has become famous, notwithstanding its small size, due to a historical fact, that pointed…

  • How to become a glaciologist

    A glaciologist is a researcher who studies ice and glaciers: this study can consider different aspects, such as the movement…

    Ephemeral lakes

    Even big lakes can form on the surface, inside or at the contact with a glacier. Due to the ice…

  • Rock glaciers

    In the mountains, also in our Alps, in detrital screes at higher altitudes, it usually can be observed that part…

    Speleologists in the ice

    The fascination of the glacial caves inspired an explorer to write, “ The shapes of glacial caves are spectacular: smooth,…

  • Ice and fire

    Iceland is characterized by numerous ice-sheets, among which the vast  Vatnajökull (jökull  means glacier in Icelandic); with a surface area…

  • City of ice

    The Marmolada glacier in the Dolomites has become famous, notwithstanding its small size, due to a historical fact, that pointed…

  • How to become a glaciologist

    A glaciologist is a researcher who studies ice and glaciers: this study can consider different aspects, such as the movement…

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