An LTER Network Synthesis Prospectus.
The Earth's Cryosphere, which includes glaciers; sea, lake and river ice; seasonal snow; and ice-rich permafrost, harbors over 80% of the freshwater on the planet. The Cryosphere cools the planet, regulates global sea level, stores substantial stocks of carbon, insulates soil from subfreezing air temperatures, and, most importantly, serves as a seasonally-rectified water supply for human consumption, irrigation, nutrient transport and cycling, and waste disposal. Cryosphere loss imposes enormous threats to these ecosystem services, with potential costs to the world economy in the trillions of dollars. A one meter sea level rise, projected over the 21st century, alone represents an estimated economic impact of $1 trillion (Anthoff 2006).
Long Term Ecological Research Network. "The Disappearing Cryosphere: Socioecological Consequences for Ecosystem Services." (2008). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/lter_reports/118