thumbnail

State of the Earth’s cryosphere at the beginning of the 21st century -- Glaciers, global snow cover, floating ice, and permafrost and periglacial environments: Chapter A in Satellite image atlas of glaciers of the world

Professional Paper 1386-A

This report is Chapter A in Satellite image atlas of glaciers of the world. Please see Professional Paper 1386 for other chapters.
By:
and
Edited by:
Richard S., Jr. Williams and Jane G. Ferrigno

Links

Abstract

This chapter is the tenth in a series of 11 book-length chapters, collectively referred to as “this volume,” in the series U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1386, Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World. In the other 10 chapters, each of which concerns a specific glacierized region of Earth, the authors used remotely sensed images, primarily from the Landsat 1, 2, and 3 series of spacecraft, in order to analyze that glacierized region and to monitor changes in its glaciers. Landsat images, acquired primarily during the period 1972 through 1981, were used by an international team of glaciologists and other scientists to study the various glacierized regions and (or) to discuss related glaciological topics. In each glacierized region, the present distribution of glaciers within its geographic area is compared, wherever possible, with historical information about their past areal extent. The atlas provides an accurate regional inventory of the areal extent of glacier ice on our planet during the 1970s as part of an expanding international scientific effort to measure global environmental change on the Earth’s surface. However, this chapter differs from the other 10 in its discussion of observed changes in all four elements of the Earth’s cryosphere (glaciers, snow cover, floating ice, and permafrost) in the context of documented changes in all components of the Earth System. Human impact on the planet at the beginning of the 21st century is pervasive. The focus of Chapter A is on changes in the cryosphere and the importance of long-term monitoring by a variety of sensors carried on Earth-orbiting satellites or by a ground-based network of observatories in the case of permafrost. The chapter consists of five parts. The first part provides an introduction to the Earth System, including the interrelationships of the geosphere (cryosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere), the biosphere, climate processes, biogeochemical cycles, and the critically important hydrologic cycle, in which glacier ice is the second largest reservoir of water after the oceans. The second part assesses the state of glaciers in all of the glacierized regions of the planet, primarily as drawn in the other 10 chapters. It includes sections on ice cores and the climate record they contain, volumetric changes in glaciers, harnessing spaceborne sensors to measure changes in glaciers, and related topics. The third part summarizes trends in global snow cover. The fourth part summarizes long-term changes in area and thickness of floating ice, including polar sea ice and freshwater (lake and river) ice. The fifth part assesses the loss of permafrost and changes in periglacial environments at high latitudes and high altitudes.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
State of the Earth’s cryosphere at the beginning of the 21st century -- Glaciers, global snow cover, floating ice, and permafrost and periglacial environments: Chapter A in Satellite image atlas of glaciers of the world
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
1386
Chapter:
A
ISBN:
978-0-607-98287-9
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description:
Chapter A: Cover Pages: xvii p.; Section A-1: iv, A1-A68 p.; Section A-2: x, A69-A312 p.; Section A-3: iv, A313-A344 p.; Section A-4: iv, A345-A424 p.; Section A-5: vi, A425-A496 p.; 1 Plate: 36 x 24 inches; Cryosphere Notes HTML: 9 Files; 7 Figure Galleries
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Satellite image atlas of glaciers of the world (PP 1386)
Number of Pages:
550
Other Geospatial:
Earth
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
Y