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Source: The post is based on the article “COP27: 18 countries join group on cryosphere loss, see it as major contributor to sea-level rise” published in Down To Earth on 26th November.
What is the News?
At COP 27, a broad coalition of 18 governments — led by the two polar and mountain nations of Chile and Iceland — joined together to create a new high-level group ‘Ambition on Melting Ice(AMI) on Sea-level Rise and Mountain Water Resources’.
What is the purpose of the Ambition on Melting Ice(AMI) Group?
Aim: To ensure impacts of cryosphere loss are understood by political leaders and the public, and not only within the mountain and polar regions but throughout the planet.
Founding Members of the Group: Chile, Iceland, Peru, Czech Republic, Nepal, Finland, Senegal, Kyrgyz Republic, Samoa, Georgia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Monaco, Vanuatu, Sweden, Tanzania, Liberia, Norway and Mexico.
What is the declaration issued by this group?
Climate change has already caused dramatic changes in the global cryosphere, and Earth’s snow and ice regions.
Lives and livelihoods are threatened by, and some are already lost from, these changes. Indigenous peoples in both the Arctic and mountain regions have been among the earliest affected.
The IPCC Sixth Assessment Cycle reports including the Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, conclude that such changes in the cryosphere will worsen with each additional increment of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.
These consequences will occur both within and far beyond those in polar and mountain regions.
Hence, protecting the cryosphere through vigorous climate action is not a matter for mountain and polar nations alone. It is a matter of urgent global concern because the greatest impacts on human communities lie well outside these regions.
Suggestion given by this group: Rapid and emergency-scale decreases in global CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, across all sectors, to keep alive the possibility of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, is the world’s best option to slow progressive cryosphere loss and the resulting widespread global catastrophes.
What is Cryosphere?
The term cryosphere derives from the Greek word kryo for cold and encompasses all the parts of the Earth system where water is in solid form, including ice sheets, ice shelves, glaciers, snow cover, permafrost (frozen ground), sea ice, and river and lake ice.
The cryosphere exerts an important influence on Earth’s climate, owing to its high surface reflectivity (albedo). This property gives it the ability to reflect a large fraction of solar radiation back into space and influences how much solar energy is absorbed by land and oceans.
Impact of Climate Change on Cryosphere: As the climate changes, the cryosphere changes with it, and through feedback processes, these changes have an influence on the climate.
For example, the increased melting of snow and ice caused by a warming planet enables more solar energy to be absorbed by land or water, which in turn leads to more warming.