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Author Topic: Kilimanjaro's glaciers are melting. But why? Interesting views...  (Read 3396 times)

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Most people know that Kili's beautiful snowcap is dissappearing fast, but why? Is it human caused or are there other influences?

Here are some quotes from the article discussing the scientific debate:
Quote
Campaigners from Greenpeace, the environmental group, scaled the mountain in November 2002 and held a news conference via satellite with reporters at climate-treaty talks in Morocco. Last October, Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is co-author of a bill to curb greenhouse gases, displayed before-and-after photographs of Kilimanjaro during a Senate debate. A British scientist proposed hanging white fabric over the glacier's ragged 10-story-tall edges to block sunlight and stem the erosion.

But now the pendulum has swung. This month, the mountain was taken up as a symbol of eco-alarmism by a cluster of scientists and anti-regulation groups. "Snow Fooling!: Mount Kilimanjaro's glacier retreat is not related to global warming," read a newsletter distributed on March 9 by the Greening Earth Society, a private group financed by industries dealing in fossil fuels, the dominant source of the heat-trapping gases. "Media and scientists blame human activity, but a 120-year-old natural climate shift is the cause."

The group cited a paper in the current International Journal of Climatology asserting that Kilimanjaro's ice was shrinking because East Africa's climate is drying, a process that began more than a century ago, long before humans could have been an influence.

The authors wrote that the dry weather both limited the snows that help sustain tropical glaciers and, by reducing cloud cover, allowed more solar energy to bathe the glacier. In dry, cold conditions, the ice vaporized without melting first, a process called sublimation. There was no evidence that rising temperatures had caused the melting, the researchers said.


Quote
Most experts in the Kilimanjaro debate accept three things: for more than a century, its ice has been in a retreat that is almost assuredly unstoppable and was not caused by humans; so far, there is scant data on conditions there; and the main scientific question now is how, and how much, climate shifts driven by heat-trapping emissions are accelerating that trend.

Quote
Most experts in the Kilimanjaro debate accept three things: for more than a century, its ice has been in a retreat that is almost assuredly unstoppable and was not caused by humans; so far, there is scant data on conditions there; and the main scientific question now is how, and how much, climate shifts driven by heat-trapping emissions are accelerating that trend.

Quote
Several independent glacier experts who have followed the Kilimanjaro research said the new paper and Dr. Thompson's earlier assertions about melting were probably both right to some extent.

But some experts see signs that something different has been happening in the region in recent decades. A bit to the north, for example, on the flanks of Mount Kenya, other scientists have been able to measure shifts in patterns of ice loss that show solar radiation the long-term influence on the ice is no longer dominating.

Whatever the cause, it IS melting, so plan your climb to Kilimanjaro before it's too late...
« Last Edit: Mar 26 2004, 02:06 by 7summits »
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"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
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