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Network's website offers information about sea and lake ice, frozen surfaces

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November 24, 2005

Source: University of Waterloo:

Network's website offers information about sea and lake ice, frozen surfaces

WATERLOO, Ont. -- An information portal based at the University of Waterloo is providing researchers around the world with key and timely information about the state of the cryosphere -- sea ice, lake ice, snow cover, frozen ground and glaciers -- which plays a significant role in the Earth's climate system.

The Canadian Cryospheric Information Network (, a project of the Geography department in UW's Faculty of Environmental Studies, administers web-based services through a series of websites to serve as a central cryosphere information portal for scientists, decision-makers and the general public. It is a joint data management project with Noetix Research Inc., Environment Canada and the Canadian Space Agency.

"The CCIN is inviting everyone to a virtual open house where you can explore the websites under the CCIN umbrella and expand your knowledge of the Canadian cryosphere," said Peter Yoon, Science Manager of the project. To visit all of the CCIN projects, go to the State of the Canadian Cryosphere website:

The CCIN began in 1999 as a collective venture among the private, public and academic sectors to provide access to timely, comprehensive and quality cryospheric data to promote knowledge and understanding of the cryosphere in Canada.

"Today, the CCIN is a well-established data and information provider servicing the needs of Canadian scientists and the general public," Yoon said.

"Canada occupies a unique geographic position on the globe as almost half of the planet's northern cryosphere falls within Canada's territorial boundaries," said CCIN Director Ellsworth LeDrew, a professor of Geography at UW.

"Canada has an obligation to measure, model and understand the complex relationships between the cryosphere and the Earth's climate system in order to provide accurate and timely information on cryospheric variability and change to the public and decision-makers."

Yoon explained that the cryosphere is the portion of the climate system consisting of the world's ice masses and snow deposits. The term "cryosphere" traces its origins to the Greek word kruos for frost.

"The Canadian cryosphere is an integral part of the global climate system with important linkages and feedbacks operating through its influence on energy, moisture and gas fluxes."

Large areas of the cryosphere exist at temperatures close to melting and, as a result, are very sensitive to changes in temperature, he said. "This is a significant fact since much of the global cryosphere is located in high latitudes where enhanced warming is projected by climate models."

"The critical nature of the cryosphere makes it imperative to support the collection, storage, and distribution of data and information involving the frozen environment," Yoon said.

Through its websites, the CCIN allows users to discover and gain access to legacy data, near real-time snow and ice data, current state of the cryosphere information and on-demand statistical-graph analysis.

CCIN offers a comprehensive educational package describing the major cryospheric aspects and their link to climate change, along with dynamic linkages to other major data providers, including GeoConnections, Climate and Cryosphere Project, National Snow and Ice Data Centre, and a youth oriented information centre to promote cryosphere awareness.

Ellsworth LeDrew, Director, CCIN,
(519) 888-4567, ext 2884,
Peter Yoon, Science Manager, CCIN,
(519) 888-4567, ext 2689;
John Morris, UW Media Relations, (519) 888-4435;
Release no. 261 -- November 24, 2005



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