Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA) - Central Papua's Puncak Jaya has lost most of its glaciers, whose thickness had been recorded at only 0.23 square kilometers by April 2022, according to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

"The probable cause is the 2022-2023 El Nino phenomenon," BMKG's research and development department coordinator, Donaldi Permana, stated at a webinar on the 74th World Meteorology Day observed here on Thursday.

Permana remarked that the agency conducted a long-term observation of the glacier coverage in Indonesia's highest peak from 2009 to 2023.

The agency found the snow thickness, which by December 2022 was recorded at six meters, had reduced to two meters on December 2023. Meanwhile, the average reduction in ice area from 2016 to 2022 was recorded at 0.07 kilometers annually.

Permana pointed out that climate change-induced global warming was the primary cause of the gradual disappearance of Indonesia's only eternal snow.

The department chief stated that by 1850, Puncak Jaya's snow coverage was 19 square kilometers. However, by 2020, the ice cap shrank to an estimated 0.34 square kilometers.

He said that such glacial thinning had not solely occurred in Puncak Jaya, as glaciers in other mountains in tropical regions, such as Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Quelccaya in Peru, and Naimona'nyi in Tibet, China, had also been affected by climate change.

The climate change made 2023 the hottest year recorded, and the average global temperature in 2014-2023 had increased by 1.20 plus-minus 0.12 degrees Celsius, Permana remarked.

The department head accentuated the need to reduce carbon emissions through mitigation and adaptive measures to reduce climate change effects and ensure the longevity of ice caps in tropical areas, such as Puncak Jaya.

Planting more trees, reducing plastic use, and using green energy will be simple steps to mitigate climate change, Permana stressed.

"If not mitigated or reduced, carbon dioxide will stay in the atmosphere, and even after 100 years, the concentration will remain at 33 percent," he stated.

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Translator: Dewa Ketut SW, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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