A latest study says, last remaining glaciers in the Earth’s tropical zone will disappear within the next ten years, or possibly sooner, due to the ongoing climate crisis. The range covers Himalayas in the North and the Andes in the South. The researchers from Ohio State University in the US said the first glaciers to go could be the ones in Papua, Indonesia, which they called “the canaries in the coal mine” for other mountain top glaciers around the world.
The study, published in the journal PNAS, noted that the melting of mountain top glaciers on the western half of New Guinea have increased rapidly due to a strong 2015-2016 El Nino. The researchers explained that the El Nino, a phenomenon that causes tropical ocean water and atmospheric temperatures to get warmer, is a natural climate process, but has been amplified by global warming.
According to the researchers, the New Guinea mountain glaciers will disappear in the next 10 years, most likely during the next strong El Nino. It is likely that other tropical glaciers, such as those on Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and Quelccaya in Peru, will follow. Based on their study, the researchers said the melt started at least 150 years ago, but has quickened in the last decade. The researchers said the air around the glacier is hotter due to global warming, which has also changed the altitude at which rain turns to snow.