The increasingly evident melting of the ice sheets and glaciers with the consequent changes in sea level, together with the destruction of the ice shelves, highlight how this part of the cryosphere is an extremely fragile portion of the Earth system. Glaciers are unique climate archives that give us the opportunity to investigate the climate of the past and to assess the changes taking place with a long-term perspective. However, these changes are also evident from the melting of the permafrost, which has a dramatic impact in polar and high-altitude mid-latitudes areas. In the difficult context of climate change, the researchers of the Institute of Polar Sciences, through their interrelated research activities, deal with the study of snow and ice, their chemical composition and their main physical parameters, the evolution of the permafrost and the impact of increased melting on the atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere at both regional and global levels.

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