Find My Cryosphere!

    The Challenge

    Design an app that lets a user pick a location and learn about the parts of Earth's cryosphere that impact that location.


    Where is your cryosphere?

    The cryosphere encompasses the parts of the world where water is frozen. This includes frozen water on land— ice sheets, glaciers, snow, and frozen ground (permafrost)— as well as sea ice, lake ice, and river ice. Mostly, the cryosphere is found near the north and south poles and in the mountains. In winter, the cryosphere extends further south as the ground freezes and snow falls.

    Although most people do not look out their window and see a frozen tundra, the cryosphere impacts everyone. Some communities are directly impacted by the cryosphere — they rely on frozen ice to travel and hunt, or to get their water from melting snow and glacier runoff. Other communities feel the impact of the cryosphere less directly. Weather patterns and sea levels around the world depend on the frozen poles and mountainous regions, for example.

    Scientists, planners, policy makers, and citizens need to understand how the cryosphere, and changes in our frozen landscapes, affect everyone around the world.

    Potential Considerations

    • Allow users to identify the nearest glacier, area of permafrost, snowpack, ice sheet, etc.
    • How far away is the nearest glacier? Ice sheet? Snow pack?
    • How does access to food, water, and shelter depend on the cryosphere? What about lifestyle or recreation?
    • How would life change in your location if that piece of the cryosphere changed? Disappeared?
    • How does the food in your location (crops, fish, etc.) depend on the cryosphere?
    • Design creative and interesting ways to display the data!
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    SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.