|Carstensz Glacier. Photo from Jakarta Globe.|
|From Prentice and Hope, 2006. See references.|
Glaciers can provide unique glimpses into the past because there are bubbles within the ice. These air bubbles provide a snapshot of the composition of the atmosphere at the time when the bubble was trapped in the ice. By drilling cores in the ice, glaciologists can study the air bubbles to understand how the earth's atmosphere and by extension its climate have changed. Some core records go back further than 100,000 years! It's thought that the Puncak Jaya glaciers are a lot newer than this, but for geographers, climatologists, and glaciologists the ice at Lorentz is special....the glaciers are at the western edge of the pacific warm pool, an important feature of the global atmospheric-oceanic circulation system (1).
Chasing the Cores...
A Short Introduction to Glacial Processes...
|Notice the morraines...|
|Diagram from Christopherson, 2010. Geosystems.|
(1) The warm pool plays an important role in the El Nino-La Nina oscillation; look for a future post on this phenomenon.
References and For Further Reading
Kincaid, Joni, and Andrew Klein. 2004. Retreat of the Irian Jaya Glaciers from 2000 to 2002 as Measured from IKONOS Satellite Images. Paper presented at 61st Eastern Snow Conference, Portland, Maine.
Prentice, Michael and Geoffrey Hope. 2006. Climate of Papua. Ecology of Papua. Springer-Verlag: NY.
Stone, Richard. 2010. Arduous Expedition to Sample Last Virgin Tropical Glaciers. Science 328, pp1084-5.
Thompson, Lonnie, Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Mary Davis, and Henry Brecher. 2011. Tropical Glaciers, Recorders and Indicators of Climate Change, Are Disappearing Globally. Annals of Glaciology 52(59): pp23-34.
Indonesia's official site for Lorentz National Park can be found here.