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Varieties News Kingdom of Bahrain: El Niño Threatens Vanishing of Indonesia Tropical Glaciers by 2026

Impending Threat: El Niño Endangers Indonesia Tropical Glaciers, Could Vanish by 2026

Indonesia’s rare tropical glaciers, located in the nation’s easternmost Papua region, are facing an alarming threat. The two remaining tropical glaciers, Carstensz Pyramid at 4,884 meters (16,000 feet) and East Northwall Firn at 4,700 meters (15,420 feet), are in danger of disappearing by 2026, accelerated by the El Niño weather pattern that prolongs the dry season, as disclosed by the Indonesian geophysics agency on Wednesday.

As reported by Reuters, the El Niño phenomenon is causing Indonesia’s dry season to extend possibly until October. This prolonged dry spell heightens the risk of forest fires, jeopardizes water supplies, and potentially exacerbates environmental challenges for the country, which houses a significant portion of the world’s rainforests.

Donaldi Permana, a climate researcher at the agency, indicated that the ‘Eternity Glaciers’ are at grave risk due to the accelerating melting process triggered by El Niño. Permana projected that these tropical glaciers might vanish even sooner than 2026, raising concerns about their survival.

The diminishing trend of these glaciers has been evident over the past years, with their thickness dwindling from 32 meters (105 feet) in 2010 to a mere 8 meters (26 feet) in 2021. Moreover, their total area has diminished from 2.4 square kilometers in 2000 to 0.23 square kilometers in 2022.

Tragically, little can be done to reverse this decline. Permana emphasized that this phenomenon could have far-reaching consequences, disrupting the local ecosystem and potentially causing a rise in global sea levels within the next decade.

Permana, who coordinates the climate research division of the Indonesian geophysics agency, BMKG, lamented the imminent loss of the glaciers, highlighting that documenting their extinction becomes an essential testament for future generations.

Apart from Indonesia, tropical glaciers can also be found in the Andes of South America, as well as on mountains such as Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, and Rwenzory in Africa.

Indonesia, a leading coal exporter, has ambitious environmental goals. Despite its heavy reliance on coal-fired power, the country aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2060. Furthermore, Indonesia set a challenging target of reducing emissions by 31.89% by 2030, with the possibility of reaching 43.2% with international support.

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