Scientists have obtained high resolution satellite images that paint a stark picture of how tropical glaciers in the Pacific have retreated over the past decade. The images taken from the Pleaides satellites reveal that the formerly extensive Carstenz Glacier of West Papua New Guinea has almost completely disappeared, while the once continuous East North Wall Firn has split into a number of much smaller fragments. The findings have been released by scientists at Plymouth University and the Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth (BRNC) and come on the heels of record-breaking temperatures around the globe. Dr Chris Lavers, Lecturer in Radar and Telecommunications, based at BRNC, said: "The years 2011-2015 have been the warmest five-year period on record, with many extreme weather events influenced by climate change. So it is not surprising then that the present observed speed of glacier retreat world-wide has been historically unprecedented. "This is visual confirmation of the ablation of equatorial glaciers, with the Carstenz Glacier revealed to have almost completed melted away in the last 15 years."
An image of the Carstenz Glacier in 2002, sourced from Digital Globe. Credit: Digital Globe
An image of the Carstenz Glacier in 2015, sourced from the Pleiades Satellite. Credit: Pleidaes