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Cryosphere UPSC NOTE

 What is Cryosphere

  • The cryosphere is the frozen water part of the Earth system. 

  • It includes all snow, ice, and permafrost on Earth's surface and in its oceans and seas. 

  • It covers about 10% of Earth's surface and contains about 75% of the planet's fresh water.

  • The cryosphere is an important part of the global climate system. 

  • It plays a role in regulating the Earth's temperature, reflecting sunlight back into space and influencing ocean currents

  • It also provides habitat for many plants and animals, and is a source of drinking water for millions of people around the world.

  • The cryosphere is changing rapidly due to climate change. 

  • Sea ice and glaciers are melting, and permafrost is thawing. 

  • These changes are having a significant impact on the global climate system and on the people and ecosystems that depend on the cryosphere.

Increasing threats posed by the shrinking glaciers

  • Barometers measures the climate crisis as evocatively as the state of glaciers, a key component of the cryosphere. 

  • The World Meteorological Organization’s recent report, “The Global Climate 2011-2020”, gives a broad view of the planet’s response to greenhouse gas emissions

  • In the section on the state of glacier health, it points out that, on average, the world’s glaciers thinned by approximately a metre a year from 2011 to 2020. 

  • When compared across decades, there is significant regional variability, but the overall pattern remains that glaciers in all regions of the world are becoming smaller

  • In Africa, glaciers on the Rwenzori Mountains and Mount Kenya are projected to disappear by 2030, and those on Kilimanjaro by 2040. 

  • The report points to the rapid growth of pro-glacial lakes and the likelihood of glacier lake outburst flood (GLOF), posing additional threats to ecosystems and livelihoods. 

  • The fury of a GLOF event was brought home this year by the destruction of the Chungthang dam in Sikkim after the South Lhonak Lake flooded from a melting glacier. 

  • Earlier this year, a separate report by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development found that the disappearance of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayas was “65% faster in the 2010s than in the previous decade”. 

  • At the current rate of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is expected to see temperatures increase by 2.5°-3°C by the end of the century, the volume of glaciers is forecast to decline anywhere from 55% to 75%. 


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Cryosphere UPSC NOTE
Cryosphere UPSC NOTE
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