Here, we are going to discuss about Cryosphere, the cold area on Earth. Earth has got a great diversity in terms of temperature. Be it the temperature of the land or the atmosphere, there are large variations around the globe.
Cold area on earth: Introduction
Some places on Earth are so cold that water is present in its solid form there i.e. either ice or snow. Here, very low temperatures freeze water and turn it into ice. Scientists call these frozen places of our planet the “Cryosphere.”
The word “Cryosphere” comes from the Greek word for cold, “kryos”.
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When we talk about Cryosphere, people most often think of it as being present at the Polar Regions. We call the area around the North Pole the Arctic and the area around the South Pole the Antarctic. But snow and ice are also found at many other locations on Earth.
Various Regions of the cold area on earth
The Arctic Region:
The North Pole is covered by a cold ocean called the Arctic Ocean. In the Arctic Ocean, sea ice grows in the winter and shrinks in the summer. Frozen ground and permafrost ring the Arctic Ocean. Glaciers, snow, and ice cover the nearby land, including a thick sheet of snow and ice covering Greenland.
The Antarctic Region:
Antarctica, at Earth’s South Pole, is an icy continent. A huge ice sheet covers the land mass of Antarctica and, in some places, shelves of floating ice extends into the ocean. The outer sections of ice break off or “calve” from these shelves and form icebergs. The icebergs float in the oceans, melting and falling apart as they drift into warmer waters.
The other regions:
The Cryosphere also exists in places far away from the cold poles, at high elevations. For example, the snow on Mount Kilimanjaro, in Africa. Frozen soil can be found high in the mountains of the United States.
It can also be found in the northern reaches of Canada, China, and Russia.
The Cryosphere expands during the cold winter months.
Seasonal areas of the Cryosphere include places where snow falls, and where soil, rivers, and lakes freeze.
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Constitution of the cold area on earth
Snow, ice, or both
Snow is precipitation made up of ice crystals. When cold temperatures and high humidity levels combine in the atmosphere, snow crystals form.
As long as air temperature remains below freezing, the crystals will fall to the Earth as snow. Snow can be found all over the world, even near the equator, provided the elevations are that much high.
It reflects sunlight and affects our planet’s climate.
Ice forms when temperatures drop below the freezing point and liquid water becomes a solid, creating a tightly bonded substance.
Ice is a key ingredient in glaciers, sea ice, ice shelves, icebergs, and frozen ground.
Naturally occurring ice exists all over the world, but mostly forms in the high latitudes, at high elevations, or even at night when temperatures cool.
Sea ice forms when water in the oceans is cooled to temperatures below freezing point. Most sea ice forms in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans.
It would be pretty surprising to you that sea ice does not raise sea level when it melts, because it forms from ocean water.
It provides a place for polar bears, seals, and other animals to live.
Glaciers are nothing but the thick masses of ice on land.
The ice has built up from many seasons of snowfall. Glaciers move downhill very slowly.
Glaciers cover 10 % of the world’s total land area.
Ice shelves, icebergs and frozen ground
are platforms of ice that form where ice sheets and glaciers move out into the oceans. Ice shelves exist mostly in Antarctica and Greenland, as well as in the Arctic near Canada and Alaska.
are chunks of ice that break off glaciers and ice shelves and drift in the oceans.
Ice shelves and icebergs raise sea level when they first leave land and push into the water. But they do not raise sea level when they melt in the water.
is soil or rock in which part or all of the water has frozen. If the ground is frozen all year long, we call it “permafrost,” or permanently frozen ground.
They often has an “active layer” near the surface, where plants can live because the soil is thawed for at least part of the year.
Your turn on the cold area on earth:
Here, we discussed about some of the cold area on earth. If I have skipped anything, you can educate me through the comments. The comment section is always for the knowledge enhancement. Please try to add more value to the article.