Tropical glaciers have retreated significantly in the past century, and many have lost more than half of their ice in the last few decades. Indonesia’s glaciers are no exception. In 1989, five ice masses sat on the slopes of Puncak Jaya, a 4,884-meter peak within the Sudirman Range. By 2009, two of the glaciers—Meren and Southwall—were gone. The other three—Carstenz, East Northwall Firn, and West North Wall Firn—had retreated dramatically.
This pair of images, captured by the Thematic Mapper (TM) on Landsat 4 and Landsat 5, offer a view of the ice loss between 1989 and 2009. The images are a combination of shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light. Ice appears light blue. Clouds are primarily white, though some are tinged with blue. Exposed rock is salmon-colored; forests are green. (The gray area near the center of the 2009 image is the Grasberg mine. Established in 1990 by Freeport McMoran, the open-pit mine has the world’s largest known gold reserve and second largest copper reserve.)
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 184.108.40.206.0