New Guinea Glaciers Decimated Due To Climate Change

By on May 2, 2016

Satellite images show a glacial retreat in Papua New Guinea. (Credit: Plymouth University)

A University of Plymouth study using high-resolution satellite images has shown that once sizeable tropical glaciers in New Guinea have nearly disappeared in the past 15 years, largely due to climate change effects and unprecedented temperature rise.

The Carstenz Glacier, for example, has almost disappeared. The East North Wall Firn has greatly decreased in area as well. Scientists attribute the losses in part to 2011-2015 being the hottest five years on record.

Images used in the study were taken from Pleaides satellites and collected as the satellites passed over New Guinea in June of 2015. Those were compared to Digital Globe Foundation satellite images of the same region taken between 2000 and 2002.

New Guinea’s tropical glaciers are viewed as important markers of the effects of climate change, as they react to temperature changes rapidly. Mineral and sediment transport in local communities is also being impacted by the melting glacier ice.

Top image: Satellite images show a glacial retreat in Papua New Guinea. (Credit: University of Plymouth)

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