Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) revealed that the condition of ice cover or ‘eternal snow’ in Puncak Jaya, Papua is now worrying. It is estimated that the thickness of the remaining ice in December 2022 is only 6 meters.
According to the BMKG, Puncak Jaya’s ‘eternal snow’ continues to melt due to the effects of climate change. Especially in 2015-2016, when a strong El Nino hit Indonesia, which triggered a warmer surface temperature. As a result, the glaciers in Puncak Jaya are melting up to 5 meters per year.
“The El Nino phenomenon in 2023 has the potential to accelerate the extinction of Puncak Jaya’s ice cover. This reality has a major impact on various aspects of life in the region,” said BMKG Head Dwikorita Karnawati in a written statement, Wednesday (23/8/2023).
“Ecosystems around the eternal snow are vulnerable and threatened. Climate change is also having an impact on the lives of local indigenous people who have long depended on the balance of the environment and natural resources in the region,” he added.
In fact, he said, the existence of Puncak Jaya’s ‘eternal snow’ makes Indonesia as a tropical country unique.
“Eternal snow in Puncak Jaya is a natural wonder that has attracted a lot of attention from scientists, researchers and nature lovers. However, in the last few decades, it has been reported that there has been a drastic decrease in the area of eternal snow,” he said.
He explained, since 2010, the BMKG Research and Development Center (Puslitbang) together with Ohio State University, USA, have conducted studies related to paleo-climatological analysis based on ice cores in the Puncak Jaya glacier.
“As a result, since the observations were made until now, the ice cover in Puncak Jaya has melted and is headed for extinction,” he said.
“In 2010, the thickness of the ice is estimated to reach 32 meters and the rate of ice depletion of 1 meter per year will occur in 2010-2015. Then when there is a strong El Nino in 2015-2016, the ice loss will reach 5 meters per year,” he explained.
Donaldi Sukma Permana, a BMKG climatologist who also leads the Climate Change Impact Study on Glaciers in Puncak Jaya, added that in the 2016-2022 period, the rate of ice loss reached 2.5 meters per year. Mentioned, the area of ice cover in 2022 is around 0.23 square kilometers (km2) and continues to experience melting.
The BMKG also estimates that the thickness of the remaining ice in December 2022 is only 6 meters.
“Another real impact of the melting of ice in these mountains is that it contributes to increasing sea levels globally,” said Donaldi.
For this reason, Dwikorita appealed for cooperation from all parties to raise awareness about the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.
“Efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change must be carried out jointly by the government, the community, the private sector and other related parties,” said Dwikorita.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and implementing new and/or renewable energy are important steps that must be taken immediately,” he concluded.
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