Germany glaciers
Representative image/Daniel Schwen, CC BY-SA 2.5 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Floods, droughts, wildfires, and excessive heat during the summer months have already become frequent due to climate change, and experts believe not enough is being done to reduce their pace.

Now, Indonesia's geophysics agency has said that the country's glaciers may vanish by 2026 or sooner. The warning comes as El Niño makes its presence felt across the world.

Indonesia is home to some of the world's few tropical glaciers and a third of the world's rainforest, writes The Guardian.

"The glaciers might vanish before 2026, or even faster, and El Niño could accelerate the melting process," said Donaldi Permana, a climatologist with the National Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

The glacier on Puncak Jaya, a mountain in the Papua area, is already melting rapidly, and the El Niño weather phenomenon is only expected to accelerate its speed.

Donaldi has warned that if the shrinking of the glaciers is not stopped, it can have a harmful impact on the regional ecosystem.

"We are now in a position to document the glaciers' extinction," he added. "At least we can tell future generations that we used to have glaciers."

Apart from Indonesia, tropical glaciers are also found in regions like the Andes in South America and on the mountains of Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, and Rwenzory in Africa.

What is El Niño weather pattern?

El Niño is the natural warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes the weather worldwide. It is associated with an increase in temperature globally. The hottest year in recorded history, 2016, was an El Niño year.

It is part of a larger phenomenon called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). El Niño is the "warm phase" of ENSO, while La Niña is its "cool phase," according to the National Geographic Society. It is typically concentrated in the central-east equatorial Pacific, and its effects peak during December.

The planet is already 1.2°C warmer than in pre-industrial times, and El Niño's return is only expected to make the situation worse this year. However, there is no evidence to suggest that climate change has affected El Niño events.

The UN experts fear that it could lead to a record spike in temperatures in some regions. It can also lead to severe drought in Australia, Indonesia, and parts of southern Asia. El Niño's warm waters can also fuel hurricanes in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean.

Episodes of El Niño typically last for nine to 12 months. However, sometimes they can last for years. It occurs every two to seven years. It not only affects global climate patterns significantly but also the marine ecosystem.