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Retreat of glaciers on Puncak Jaya, Irian Jaya, determined from 2000 and 2002 IKONOS satellite images

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Puncak Jaya, Irian Jaya, Indonesia, contains the only remaining tropical glaciers in East Asia. The extent of the ice masses on Puncak Jaya has been mapped from high-resolution IKONOS satellite images acquired on 8 June 2000 and 11 June 2002. Exclusive of Southwall Hanging Glacier, the ice extent on Puncak Jaya was 2.326 km2 and 2.152 km2 in 2000 and 2002, respectively. From 2000 to 2002, the Puncak Jaya glaciers lost a surface area of 0.174 km2 or 7.48% of their 2000 ice extent. Comparison of the IKONOS-based glacier extents with previous glacier extents demonstrates a continuing reduction of ice area on Puncak Jaya. By 2000, ice extent on Puncak Jaya had reduced by 88% of its maximum neoglacial extent. Between 1992 and 2000 Meren Glacier disappeared entirely. All remaining ice masses on Puncak Jaya continue their retreat from their neoglacial maxima. Comparison of 2000/2002 ice extents with previous extents suggests that these glaciers have not experienced accelerating rates of retreat during the last half of the 20th century. If the recession rates observed from 2000 to 2002 continue, the remaining ice masses on Puncak Jaya will melt within 50 years.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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