Question: How does the cryosphere affect global climate?
Answer: Cryosphere can be defined as the region that is frozen throughout the year in form of glaciers or snow, regardless of the seasons. The major cryospheric regions of the world are the poles, regions of high altitude such as Himalayas, Andes, Alps etc.
Effects of Cryosphere on global climate
- Maintaining global temperatures
The biggest role played by Cryosphere is maintaining global temperatures by acting as reflecting surfaces. The snow has high albedo due to which majority of sun rays will be reflected and heat will be reduced. This is very essential for reducing global warming.
- Carbon trapping agents
Cryospheric regions have large amounts of active carbon dioxide trapped below their surface due to frozen nature. This has prevented the carbon to escape and contribute towards global warming phenomenon.
- Water cycling
The cryospheric regions are major source of rivers and streams that are essential parts of water cycle. The dispersed water in form of rivers is cycled back in form of rainfall and snow to keep the global balance intact.
Threats faced by Cryosphere
The unburnt carbon settles on top of snow surface and act as absorbents of heat. This will result in melting of ice and subsequent events such as sea level rise and carbon release.
The region of Cryosphere, eventhough do not contribute much to human habitat, have a large role in maintaining the climate of the world. Saving these regions must be a top priority.