The Cryosphere And Climate Change

All is on the eve of motion.

—James Forbes, Travels Through the Alps of Savoy

Snow and ice take on many guises on Earth, some fleeting and some older than civilization. Cryospheric dynamics have played a role in climate evolution throughout Earth's history. Several examples of cryo-sphere-climate interactions were introduced in chapter 8. Here, I present additional examples of cryospheric change and the influence of the cryosphere in the climate system, including a brief look at "snowball Earth," the evolution of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, a fuller discussion of glacial-interglacial cycles, and a brief overview of recent cryospheric change. The planet is changing rapidly, so some discussion is warranted. However, this area represents a moving scientific target, so I restrict the discussion to a general summary rather than a detailed analysis of current climate and cryospheric trends.

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