Polar Ice Caps

We refer to the polar ice cap biome as the regions of the planet covered by ice most of the year. This includes large portions of the arctic and antarctic.

Did you know that there are ice caps on other planets? It’s true! Mar’s has polar ice caps but they are not composed of water ice. Instead they are a mixture of carbon dioxide and water ice.

How to Polar Ice Caps form? Polar ice caps form because high-latitude regions receive less energy in the form of solar radiation from the sun than equatorial regions. This results in lower surface temperatures. Seasonal variations of the ice caps will take place due to varied solar energy absorption as the planet or moon revolves around the sun. Additionally, in geologic time scale, the ice caps may grow or shrink due to climate variation. 

 

This frozen block of freshwater is melting

Defining an Ice cap: A polar ice cap or polar ice sheet is a high-latitude region of a planet or moon that is covered in ice. This term is somewhat of a misnomer since an ice cap is less than 50,000 km² and is always over land: a larger area of ice is called an ice sheet. Polar ice caps do not have size, composition or geologic requirements of being over land, but they must be centered in the polar region.

What is the health of the ice? Both of the Earth’s ice caps are currently shrinking, possibly as a result of anthropogenic global warming.

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