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Over the past few weeks, Alaska recorded record-high temperatures, scientists released a “report card” showing relentless deterioration of the Arctic’s climate, and researchers warned that an ice shelf in Antarctica could collapse within a few years, dramatically increasing the region’s contribution to rising sea levels.

These are signposts on a grim path. They show that damage to the cryosphere, the portions of Earth’s surface where ice predominates, is happening faster than many anticipated. After a year of promises — at the United Nations’ Glasgow climate conference and beyond — 2022 must be the year of concrete action, in particular at the Earth’s poles.

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