All components of Earth’s cryosphere have immense significance from the perspective of various Earth system processes. Approximately 33% of Earth’s surface is seasonally covered by snow, and nearly 10% of it is covered permanently by snow/ice. However, as a result of global warming predominantly attributed to anthropogenic activities, all components of the cryosphere are observed to be experiencing changes in unprecedented magnitudes. The declining snow cover patterns have recently been observed to create drought-like situations due to the retreating duration of snow cover days often referred to as snow droughts. In another scenario, ice mass loss is a continuing phenomenon from glaciers and ice fields globally in mountainous regions. The sea-level increase has been observed to be a result of the irreversible mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets. Further, increased attention to natural hazards observed in the mountainous regions is required due to the development of glacial lakes from the thinning of glacier ice and thawing permafrost.
This gathering of scientists, scholars, and research enthusiasts provides a platform for the discussion of critical development in the various domains of the cryosphere and its association with Earth system processes and importantly climate change. The conference is aimed to provide discussions on transdisciplinary scientific research, the latest technologies, critical research gaps, and key perspectives for future action to combat climate change and delineate the significance of outreach and awareness on the status of the Earth’s cryosphere through dedicated policies.
The cryosphere changes have a detrimental impact on our planet. Critical challenges require innovative solutions in understanding the key Earth processes, devising ways to improve the present scenario, and laying out supporting policies. The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) has been creating opportunities to develop an international and transdisciplinary network for promoting education and outreach in polar research. It is celebrating its 15th year of service. The Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS) is a valued partner of APECS. The 9th edition of the APECS International Online Conference in 2023 aims to shed light on the various roles assumed by APECS and its supporting organizations in an opening session while critically discussing the latest studies on the causes and effects of a changing cryosphere and its impact at multiple scales through the following sessions.