The cryosphere contains the frozen parts of the planet. It includes snow and ice on land, ice caps, glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice. This sphere helps maintain Earth’s climate by reflecting incoming solar radiation back into space. As the world warms due to increasing greenhouse gases being added to the atmosphere by humans, the snow and ice are melting. At sea, this exposes more of the dark ocean below the ice, and on land, the dark vegetation below. These dark surfaces then absorb the solar radiation causing more melting. This creates a positive feedback loop, which exacerbates the impacts of climate change.
Learn more about this vulnerable sphere with this collection of resources.