photo: Stig Nygaard via flickr.
New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences calculates for the first time the volume of ice lost from Mount Kilimanjaro's snowfields and the prognosis isn't good. From 1912-2007, the mountain's iconic glaciers have decreased some 85%, with 26% of glacier present in 2000 now gone:The report goes on to show that from 2000-2007 the amount of thinning at the summits of the Northern and Southern Ice Fields was 1.9m and 5.1m respectively, or a decline of 3.6% and 24%.
This Melting Unique in Past 11,700 Years
As to what's causing the decline, the report says that while "the relative importance of different climatological drivers remains an area of active inquiry...several points bear consideration."
Namely, 1) that the ice loss on Kilimanjaro is happening at the same time as widespread glacial retreat in mid and low latitudes; and 2) there is evidence that the current shrinking and thinning of these glaciers is "unique within an 11,700-year perspective."
Warmer Temps Likely to Blame
The original paper gives a number of examples which show that changes in land use, precipitation, cloudiness and humidity are superimposed on glaciers similar to those of Kilimanjaro, in terms of latitude, and that something else is at work..."most obvious would be warmer air temperatures".
All meaning that the ice fields on the top and along the flanks of Kilimanjaro are poised to disappear "within several decades".
Read the original: Glacial loss on Kilimanjaro continues unabated
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