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Cryosphere Services and Human Well-Being

State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Regional Climate Group, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Box 460, 40530 Gothenburg, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4365;
Received: 27 June 2019 / Revised: 23 July 2019 / Accepted: 6 August 2019 / Published: 12 August 2019
PDF [5159 KB, uploaded 16 August 2019]


Cryosphere services (CSs) refer to various benefits that humans directly or indirectly obtain from the cryosphere, which makes significant contributions to human well-being (HWB). To facilitate such research, we first present a classification system for conceptualizing, monitoring and assessing CSs based on the current process-based understanding of their nature and sustainability. Specifically, the CSs are grouped into five major categories (provisioning, regulating, cultural, bearing and supporting services) and 18 sub-categories. Then we provide a detailed overview on formation, current status and anticipated future changes of the identified types of the services, and their impact on HWB. Finally, the spatio-temporal scales, the links of the services with HWB and climate-dependence are further discussed. The research of CSs adopt interdisciplinary approach to address the formation mechanisms of CSs and their dynamic relationships with HWB, which is poised to provide a better understanding of the cryosphere’s role in human society and help enhance socio-ecological sustainability and HWB over cryosphere-affected areas. Notably, most CSs have been deteriorating under global warming and cryosphere shrinkage, further leading to negative impacts on associated HWB. Therefore, great attention should be paid to the changes in CSs and their cascading risks. View Full-Text
Keywords: cryosphere; cryosphere services; cryosphere functions; human well-being; classification system; socio-ecological systems; sustainability cryosphere; cryosphere services; cryosphere functions; human well-being; classification system; socio-ecological systems; sustainability

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Su, B.; Xiao, C.; Chen, D.; Qin, D.; Ding, Y. Cryosphere Services and Human Well-Being. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4365.

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