State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Indonesia Puncak Jaya2

  • On Our Way to the Top

    This morning we were at our staging area at the Grasberg mine at 5 am, and were able to use the B3 helicopter to get ourselves set up. First trip up, our colleagues Keith Mountain and Vladimir Mikhalenko went to what we call the “saddle camp”—a spot between two peaks—where we will stage the first…

  • Ice Drills Retrieved

    With the drills essential to our work apparently lost somewhere in transit, Lonnie and I finally backtracked to Jakarta–a five-hour flight–and found them sitting in an airline warehouse! Within 24 hours, we had them shipped to our staging site, and now we are ready to go.

  • High Elevation Lakes

    We are currently taking samples of water and sediments from high-elevation lakes near the glaciers. Like ice cores from the glaciers themselves, these should contain substances that will help us understand the climate history of this region. The sampling is being done in conjunction with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the Indonesian Meteorological, Climatological…

  • Needed: Ice Drills

    We are staying at the high-elevation Grasberg gold and copper mine—not on top of Puncak Jaya—because some of our equipment has not arrived. We have 99 pieces out of the 106 we shipped, but unfortunately our ice drills are in the missing pieces, and we cannot do anything without those. We are working hard to…

  • Scouting the Glacier

    Team members are now actively scouting by foot on Puncak Jaya, looking for the best drill spots, travel routes  and campsites. The man in red is Broxton Bird of Ohio State University. In brown, the appropriately named alpine veteran Keith Mountain of  the University of Louisville. At bottom: team leaders Dwi Susanto and Lonnie Thompson give a…

  • Moving Up a Melting Mountain

    Four days ago, we flew into the lowland Papuan city of Timika, then moved up to Tembagapura, a town managed by the Freeport-McMoRan company, whose gold/copper mine near our glaciers is lending us logistical support. Tembagapura, at 1,900 meters (6,000 feet), was our first step in acclimatizing to high elevation. Now we have moved up…

  • Heading for Thin Air

    The project to core the glaciers of Puncak Jaya was officially launched today at a press conference in Jakarta, at the offices of the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG). Agency director general Sri Woro B. Harijono hailed the project as “a milestone for climate study in Indonesia” that will produce important data for…

  • Our Race Against Time

    Our team is planning to recover and analyze ice cores from glaciers on opposite sides of the tropical Pacific Ocean:  Puncak Jaya in Papua-Indonesia (4,884 meters above mean sea level) and Nevado Haulcán, Peru (6,100 meters.). Puncak Jaya offers the only potential opportunity to acquire an ice core history from the western side of what…

  • Reaping Ice From a High Indonesian Peak

    After years of preparation, scientists are about to ascend Indonesia’s 4,884-meter (16,000-foot) Puncak Jaya, earth’s highest mountain between the Andes and the Himalayas, to drill samples of some of the last, fast-dwindling glacial ice in the tropics. From deep cores representing centuries of accumulation, they hope to extract clues to past cyclic swings in the…

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  • On Our Way to the Top

    This morning we were at our staging area at the Grasberg mine at 5 am, and were able to use the B3 helicopter to get ourselves set up. First trip up, our colleagues Keith Mountain and Vladimir Mikhalenko went to what we call the “saddle camp”—a spot between two peaks—where we will stage the first…

  • Ice Drills Retrieved

    With the drills essential to our work apparently lost somewhere in transit, Lonnie and I finally backtracked to Jakarta–a five-hour flight–and found them sitting in an airline warehouse! Within 24 hours, we had them shipped to our staging site, and now we are ready to go.

  • High Elevation Lakes

    We are currently taking samples of water and sediments from high-elevation lakes near the glaciers. Like ice cores from the glaciers themselves, these should contain substances that will help us understand the climate history of this region. The sampling is being done in conjunction with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the Indonesian Meteorological, Climatological…

  • Needed: Ice Drills

    We are staying at the high-elevation Grasberg gold and copper mine—not on top of Puncak Jaya—because some of our equipment has not arrived. We have 99 pieces out of the 106 we shipped, but unfortunately our ice drills are in the missing pieces, and we cannot do anything without those. We are working hard to…

  • Scouting the Glacier

    Team members are now actively scouting by foot on Puncak Jaya, looking for the best drill spots, travel routes  and campsites. The man in red is Broxton Bird of Ohio State University. In brown, the appropriately named alpine veteran Keith Mountain of  the University of Louisville. At bottom: team leaders Dwi Susanto and Lonnie Thompson give a…

  • Moving Up a Melting Mountain

    Four days ago, we flew into the lowland Papuan city of Timika, then moved up to Tembagapura, a town managed by the Freeport-McMoRan company, whose gold/copper mine near our glaciers is lending us logistical support. Tembagapura, at 1,900 meters (6,000 feet), was our first step in acclimatizing to high elevation. Now we have moved up…

  • Heading for Thin Air

    The project to core the glaciers of Puncak Jaya was officially launched today at a press conference in Jakarta, at the offices of the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG). Agency director general Sri Woro B. Harijono hailed the project as “a milestone for climate study in Indonesia” that will produce important data for…

  • Our Race Against Time

    Our team is planning to recover and analyze ice cores from glaciers on opposite sides of the tropical Pacific Ocean:  Puncak Jaya in Papua-Indonesia (4,884 meters above mean sea level) and Nevado Haulcán, Peru (6,100 meters.). Puncak Jaya offers the only potential opportunity to acquire an ice core history from the western side of what…

  • Reaping Ice From a High Indonesian Peak

    After years of preparation, scientists are about to ascend Indonesia’s 4,884-meter (16,000-foot) Puncak Jaya, earth’s highest mountain between the Andes and the Himalayas, to drill samples of some of the last, fast-dwindling glacial ice in the tropics. From deep cores representing centuries of accumulation, they hope to extract clues to past cyclic swings in the…