A few entries back I told you that the research we’re doing here is adding to our knowledge of the cryosphere. I didn’t tell you what cryosphere means, and still won’t. See if you can figure it out from these facts, which all have to do with the cryosphere. Read them, discuss them and post as complete and detailed a definition of the cryosphere as you can.
1. The ice in the basalt caves of Washington State is formed due to the trapping of cold winter air.
2. If you were to urinate on the snow, and it were to freeze, it would become part of the cryosphere. (That fact is for my fourth period student who’s been wondering. I won’t be trying it myself until the blizzard is over.)
3. 25% of the Earth’s landmass is affected by permafrost. Permafrost is land whose temperature is below freezing for a full summer, winter and summer.
4. If the glaciers of Greenland were to melt, sea level would rise by seven meters.
5. The polar ice caps reflect light and heat rather than absorbing it which keeps the polar regions cooler.
6. About 20% of the world’s terrestrial carbon is in permanently frozen peat bogs.
7. Climate change is reducing the extent of the crysphere.
Sources: www.thewe.cc/weplanet/news/arctic/permafrost_melting.htm, Dr. Peter Kershaw, University of Alberta (personal communication, 2/17/07, Churchill, Manitoba)
Here are some beautiful pictures of the cryosphere taken by my friend Alan.