Earth’s shrinking cryosphere levels have been quantified to be as much as 87,000 square kilometers each year. the areas with frozen water on earth shrank by about the size of Lake Superior every year between 1979 and 2016 on an average. This fall has been attributed to climate change, a new study has revealed. This has been the first attempt to arrive at a global estimate of the surface area of the Earth that is covered by snow, and both sea and land ice.
The presence of ice on the surface area of the earth is important in several respects. The Shrinking cryosphere lets the planet absorb more heat through the oceans and landmass and this leads to an acceleration in the healing process. This affects air temperatures, alters the level of the seas and oceans, and affects the normal pattern of oceanic current flows.
The recent study on the shrinking cryosphere was published in Earth’s Future, Advance Earth and Space Science’s study on the past, the present, and the future of Earth and its inhabitants.
Shrinking Cryosphere Is A Reliable Indicator Of The Changing Earth
The first author of the journal and physical geographer Xiaoqing Peng said the shrinking cryosphere is a grave climatic indicator and a demonstration of our changing planet. The alteration in size points towards changes on a global level and not merely a regional issue.
Nearly 75% of the earth’s fresh water is trapped in this ice. The shrinking cryosphere is seen in dwindling snow cover and ice sheets, and the loss of the Arctic sea ice and the fall has been witnessed throughout the world.
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The rising air temperatures have a direct relation to the fall in ice cover since the study was started in 1979. The Northern Hemisphere has seen the greatest loss, with about 102,000 square kilometers (39,300 square miles), equal to the size of the state of Kansas, being lost each year.
There has been a slight recovery in the southern hemisphere, the growth is concentrated around the Ross Sea. Many regions have also reported lesser duration in ice cover, notably the Arctic sea ice. Freezing each year also occurs 3.6 days later and thaws 5.7 days earlier since 1979.