Earth’s Cryosphere

Snow – you either love it or hate it.  For many it doesn’t seem like Christmas unless it is white.  Snow and ice have a very important role in regulating climate.  The cryosphere (areas covered by ice, snow, glaciers, or permafrost) is extremely dynamic, changing each season and with changing climate.  Snow and ice reflect about 80% of the sunlight that reaches the surface, working to keep the climate in check.  This Science on a Sphere dataset shows daily maps of the areas covered by snow and ice as they grow and shrink and is based on satellite data.  As the climate warms, these areas will continue to shrink, allowing for more dark, open ocean that absorbs heat and leads to further warming. This SOS dataset is updated on a daily basis in near real-time.