The climate of the Crotone Basin is marked by cold, wet winters and hot, dry summers. We arrived last year, on our first trip, in the middle of a six-month drought that lasted from April to September. I love how life figures out a way to flourish. Flowers in a riverbed; Snails on a thorn… read more

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… read more

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.

Last year I was collecting a sample of sediment from a riverbed and spent the day walking up the Neto River to find a good location. When I finished, I noticed a road high on one side of the valley. I climbed to the road and found a tunnel with no lights inside. I looked… read more

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… read more

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… read more

Nano and I have arrived in the Crotone Basin, where we’re staying in a place that Italians call an “agriturismo,” which is like a bed and breakfast that also serves lunch and dinner. Our little place is unique even among agriturismos. It is called Canciumati (can-chew-ma-tea), a house with four generations living under one roof…. read more

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… read more

It is a brutal flight from New York City to Roma. I am a sucker for in-flight movies: things I would never watch in the real world, I am completely enthralled with during an overseas flight. The problem on this flight is that we arrive at 7:30am. We have a whole day ahead of us… read more

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… read more

In early May, Scott Nooner and I returned to Malawi to retrieve our seismic equipment and finally lay eyes on the data recorded over the last 4 months. Picking them up was vastly easier than putting them out. In contrast to the days studying out-dated maps and driving down dirt roads looking for sites, and… read more

Jacobshavn Isbrae is one of the fastest moving and most productive glaciers in the world. Scientists estimate that close to the snout (front) its movement has accelerated in recent years from 20 to 40 meters a day. At the same time that the front has accelerated the glacier  has been rapidly retreating through ‘calving’ (large sections breaking… read more

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… read more

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… read more

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… read more