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Cryosphere - winter seasons, Northern and Southern Hemispheres

Year: 2007 Author: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Seasonal variation in the extent of ice and snow cover is greatest in the Northern Hemisphere. Imagine the Earth with white caps on the top and bottom. The top cap increases by a factor of six from summer to winter, while the bottom cap only doubles from summer to winter. This difference is due to snow cover: in the Northern Hemisphere snow cover on land varies from less than 2 million km2 in the summer to 40 to 50 million km2 in the winter3. There is little snow cover in the Southern Hemisphere. In Antarctica, land ice covers about 14 million km2 yearround, with little change from summer to winter. Sea ice cover in the Arctic varies between approximately 7 and 15 million km2 seasonally, while sea ice cover in the Antarctic, though about the same extent at its peak, varies much more – from around 3 million km2 during summer to 18 million km2 in winter. This means that there is less multi-year sea ice in the Antarctic than in the Arctic, where much of the sea ice is older than one year.
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Mean snow-cover extent in the Northern Hemisphere 1966-2006
Ice avalanches of the Nevados Huascarán in Peru
Glacier changes on Nevado de Santa Isabel, Colombia
Projected reduction in snow 2080-2100
Sea ice concentration change over the 21st century as projected by climate models
Major glacier hazard locations
Projected winter temperature changes in the Arctic