False Alarm: Snows Of Kilimanjaro ‘To Disappear In 20 years’

  • Date: 08/06/11

The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro will have disappeared within two decades because of global warming, claim scientists, changing forever one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes.

More than 85 per cent of the ice that covered the three peaks of Africa’s highest mountain has disappeared in the last 100 years and the rest is melting at such a rate it will be gone by 2030.

The disappearance of the ice-cap will alter one of the world’s most arresting images – elephants and giraffes trekking across the shimmering Tanzanian plains with the ice-capped peaks of the mountain in the distance.

The sight is so striking that it inspired the title of one of Ernest Hemingway’s most famous stories, the Snows of Kilimanjaro.

Researchers made the prediction after drilling holes in the remaining ice-core on top of the 19,000 ft high mountain.

Their work shows that 85 percent of the ice that covered the mountain in 1912 had been lost by 2000.

Since then the rate of melting has increased and a further 26 per cent of the ice has now disappeared.

Scientists at the University of Ohio claim the reason behind the loss is global warming combined with reduced snowfall brought on by climate change.

Their research shows that the melting is the worst in more than 11,000 years, when the ice was formed and is uncovering layers of dust not seen for thousands of years. […]

The Daily Telegraph, 3 November 2009


Kilimanjaro snow may soon vanish: thinning rate suggests ice caps may disappear by 2022.

The famed snows of Kilimanjaro may soon appear only in old tourist photos and a short story by Ernest Hemingway if current rates of melting persist, a new study suggests.

Warming in recent decades has caused high-altitude glaciers worldwide, especially in tropical areas, to shrink substantially. Recent studies atop Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro show ice loss to be proceeding apace on the African peak: More than a quarter of the ice cover in the year 2000 had disappeared by late 2007, says Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University in Columbus.

At current melting rates, permanent ice fields could disappear from Kilimanjaro by 2022, he and his colleagues report online November 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. […]

Science News, 5 November 2009


Reality Check: Snows of Kilimanjaro defy global warming predictions

If there is a poster child for global warming, it may be the vanishing snows of Kilimanjaro, which were predicted to disappear as early as 2015 in a widely-publicized report a decade ago.

However, the famed snowcap is stubbornly persisting on the African peak and may not fully vanish for another 50 years, according to a University of Massachusetts scientist who had a hand in the prediction.

2002 mount kilimanjaro.jpg

Although scientists, including some from the University of Massachusetts, predicted a decade ago that the snows of Kilimanjaro could vanish by 2015, a prediction that became a part of key evidence for global warming offered during the 2006 documentary “€œAn Inconvenient Truth,”€ new studies indicate the snowcap will remain for several more decades. (AP Photo/Ohio State University, Lonnie Thompson)

The 2001 forecast was indirectly part of key evidence for global warming offered during the 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” which warned of the threats of rising global temperatures. In it, former vice president Al Gore stated, “Within a decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro” due to warming temperatures.

“Unfortunately, we made the prediction. I wish we hadn’t,” says Douglas R. Hardy, a UMass geoscientist who was among 11 co-authors of the paper in the journal Science that sparked the pessimistic Kilimanjaro forecast. “None of us had much history working on that mountain, and we didn’t understand a lot of the complicated processes on the peak like we do now.”

MassLive, 19 March 2011


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