(ORDO NEWS) — The Earth’s cryosphere is the area of the planet’s surface covered with ice, snow and frozen ground. On average, its area is reduced by 87 thousand square kilometers per year. Scientists conducted the first study to measure this area in order to better understand how global warming and other factors affect it.
It is reported by Phys.org.
As the number of ice sheets decreases, it is necessary to document their number, total area and weight as quickly as possible, which scientists have never done before. Changes in the size of glaciers and the amount of snow also affect the air temperature, like other factors. The less these indicators are, the hotter the planet is, and vice versa.
The study of the cryosphere will provide answers to questions about changes in sea level, changes in ocean currents. Its changes are global, according to Xiaoqing Peng, a physical geographer at Lanzhou University. The geographer also said that eternal ice and snow contain ¾ of all fresh water on our planet and their melting changes the salinity of the seas and oceans.
In order to get accurate numbers, scientists have divided the planet into 4 sectors. Each part was examined and classified separately. If it contained at least one of the three components of the cryosphere, it was entered into a special table. Then all this was summed up and received specific data.
Peng and his colleagues found that the cryosphere has shrunk in most of the Northern Hemisphere. Its territory has decreased by 102 thousand km², which is equal in area to Iceland. But at the same time, an increase in ice by 14 thousand km² (in the Ross Sea around Antarctica) is noticeable in the Southern Hemisphere.
Also, scientists have found that the first day of freezing occurs 3.6 days later than 42 years ago. The cryosphere begins to melt on average 5.7 days earlier. All this data can be used for the global climate measurement index, I’m sure a glaciologist from the University of Calgary.
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