cryo·​sphere ˈkrī-ō-ˌsfir How to pronounce cryosphere (audio)
plural cryospheres
: the part of the earth's surface characterized by the presence of frozen water
The cryosphere consists of mountain glaciers and continental ice sheets, seasonal snow and ice cover on land, and sea ice.Raymond S. Bradley
The third component of the climate system, after the atmosphere and oceans, is the cryosphere—extensive ice fields of Antarctica and Greenland plus other stretches of continental snow and ice and sea ice.Stephen H. Schneider
also : a region that is part of the earth's cryosphere
We know that sea levels are rising because of thermal expansion of the ocean as well as the disintegration and the melting of the cryospheres of the world's glaciers. Elizabeth Rush
cryospheric adjective
cryospheric changes
cryospheric science

Examples of cryosphere in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Various earlier reports have found that the cryosphere — regions on Earth covered by snow and ice — are among the worst affected by climate change. Sibi Arasu, USA TODAY, 21 June 2023 With two billion people in Asia reliant on the water that glaciers and snow here hold, the consequences of losing this cryosphere are too vast to contemplate. Kathleen Magramo, CNN, 20 June 2023 Other studies that use different methods to measure the ice sheet have found consistent ice losses, Brooke Medley, a NASA cryosphere scientist, told USA TODAY in an email. Kate S. Petersen, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2023 As the ramifications of climate change are intensely associated with the cryosphere, a concerted effort to build a scientific understanding of these regions—high mountains and the Arctic and the Antarctic has been prioritised by many nations, including India. Sulagna Chattopadhyay, Quartz, 15 Dec. 2021 The report says human activities, principally through greenhouse emissions, have unequivocally caused global warming, driving widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere. Nicole Fallert, USA TODAY, 21 Mar. 2023 Eleven of these are current or planned satellites that monitor the cryosphere remotely. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 28 Mar. 2013 Cryosat-2 is so named because its decade-long mission is to study the cryosphere, the scientific name for the parts of the world covered in ice. Andrew Moseman, Discover Magazine, 9 Apr. 2010 In mid-April, despite a day length that is four hours longer than Miami’s, middle Alaska is still a part of the cryosphere. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cryosphere.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


cryo- + -sphere, after Polish kryosfera

Note: The Polish term was introduced by the geophysicist and meteorologist Antoni Bolesław Dobrowolski (1872-1954) in Historja naturalna lodu (Warsaw, 1923), p. ii: "… lód tworzy naprawdę powłokę globu, składem nadzwyczaj jednostajną, wyglądem nadzwyczaj urozmaiconą. Ta powłoka lodowa—kryosfera—wchodzi w stosunki ścisle, określone i osobliwe z hidrosferą, z litosferą, z atmosferą." ("… the ice comprises in truth a global envelope, extremely uniform in composition, extremely diverse in appearance. This envelope of ice—the cryosphere—enters into a close, definite and peculiar relationship with the hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere.")

First Known Use

1935, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cryosphere was in 1935

Dictionary Entries Near cryosphere

Cite this Entry

“Cryosphere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

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