As the negative impacts of climate change continue to worry experts, a new study has suggested that the global cryosphere, which includes all of the areas with frozen water on Earth has shrunk by about 33,000 square miles per year on average between 1979 and 2016. Researchers who took part in the video revealed that climate change is the reason behind this phenomenon. It should be also noted that this is the first study to make a global estimate of the surface area of the Earth covered by sea ice, snow cover, and the frozen ground. 

Change in the cryosphere is a climate change indicator

"The cryosphere is one of the most sensitive climate indicators and the first one to demonstrate a changing world. Its change in size represents a major global change, rather than a regional or local issue," said Xiaoqing Peng, a physical geographer at Lanzhou University, and the first author of the study in a recent statement. 

Ice shelves in Antarctica

The cryosphere of planet earth holds three-quarters of Earth's freshwater. Even though several previous studies had analyzed the shrinking of ice masses due to climate change, this is for the first time that a study is considering the entire cryosphere and the impact of rising temperature

Shrinkage primarily in the Northern Hemisphere 

The research report noted that the shrinkage primarily happened in the Northern hemisphere. The northern hemisphere lost about 39,300 square miles, which is almost half the size of Kansas every year. To compensate for this loss, the cryosphere in the Southern hemisphere expanded by about 5,400 square miles, and it mainly happened in the sea ice in the Ross Sea around Antarctica. Researchers believe that this addition happened due to cold water melting from Antarctic ice sheets and patterns of wind and ocean currents. 

Apart from the drastic shrinkage of the cryosphere, researchers also found that water in these areas remained frozen for very little time when compared to the past.