The Cryosphere includes all frozen water on the Earth's surface, all areas where snow, ice and permafrost affect the landscape and processes occurring there. We find a big amount of water tied up in glaciers and icecaps in Arctic and Antarctic, but also in permafrost and smaller glaciers worldwide.
Blocks of ice on the flat landscape, Svalbard. Photo: Colourbox
An enormous amount of water is tied up in glaciers and ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic. As these melt, the water runs into the sea causing changes in sea level and ocean circulation, which in turn affect the global heat transport.
Locally, glacier mass balance has a large influence on runoff and water balance in the catchment area, which, in Norway, is of great interest to the power industry and in other areas, such as the Himalayas, is critical for water supplies. Snowfall and snowmelt and their input to the water balance and runoff are also of interest in flood calculations.
Reduced permafrost can reduce the stability of steep slopes and cliffs resulting in natural hazards. In the Arctic, thawing permafrost can result in increased emissions of methane which is a greenhouse gas, and can thus affect the climate system.
About the group
The cryosphere research group is an important contributor to climate research at the Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, working closely with both the hydrology and meteorology researchers at the Department. Furthermore studies by this group provide an important basis for the understanding of geomorphological processes and the formation of landforms associated with cold climates. Our research is often associated with ice, glaciers and permafrost either in the polar regions or in the high mountains of the Alps and Himalayas.
For more information on the research we carry out take a look at the other related research groups: