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The Cryosphere refers to any place on Earth where water is in its solid form, where low temperatures freeze water and turn it into ice. The frozen water can be in the form of solid ice or snow and occurs in many places around the Earth.

Energy Cycle

Energy from the Sun is the driver of many Earth System processes. This energy flows into the Atmosphere and heats this system up It also heats up the Hydrosphere and the land surface of the Geosphere, and fuels many processes in the Biosphere.

Ice, which covers 10 percent of Earth's surface, is disappearing rapidly.  While the Arctic sea ice extent is declining, air temperatures are rising. Vegetation is changing, with tundra being replaced by shrubs. Permafrost is warming and thawing over parts of the Arctic.

Helping students build their understanding of Earth's spheres and how they are connected is difficult.  Review the graphics below to help identify the parts of the Earth System and the processes that connect them at the local, regional, and global scales.