The Kilimanjaro Glacier has been gradually shrinking over a few decades now. According to recent studies, the snowy top of Africa’s biggest mountain has been drastically reduced in the past few years alone. Starting from 1912, around 85% of the snow has now vanished. Those who are frequent in Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro will notice how much the snow has been reduced. There could be many reasons for this. But, it’s non-deniable that the Glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro could possibly disappear entirely by 2030.
IS THE SNOW REALLY MELTING ON KILIMANJARO?
Yes, it’s a hard fact that the Kilimanjaro Glacier are indeed melting. Since 1912, the glacier areas of Mount Kilimanjaro have decreased from 7.5 square miles to less than 1.5 square miles. Since the year 2000, the glaciers have been reduced significantly by 33%. One-third of the glacier has perished in the past two decades only.
According to Pascal Sirguey, a research scientist at the University of Otago, New Zealand, “The entire northern ice field, which holds most of Kilimanjaro’s remaining glacial ice, has now lost more than 140 million cubic feet (4 million cubic meters) of ice in the past 13 years.”
Whereas the shrinking of Kilimanjaro Glaciers has started within a few decades only. Even 4200 years ago, during a 300-year long drought, which resulted in covering Mount Kilimanjaro in 1-inch thick dust, did not lead to any melting. A study shows that a layer of ice between 6 – 17 feet has vanished from the Kilimanjaro Summit since 2000. Not only this, but the remaining ice is also thinning. Most researchers say that Kilimanjaro will be ice-free by 2030.
As it turns out, all the glaciers are not melting at the same pace. The Credner Glacier, situated in the north-western part of the mountain gets more sunlight than any other. It has been seen that the Credner Glacier has been reduced to half in the past decade only. While researches tell, if this speed continues, the Credner Glacier may totally vanish within 5 years, and the rest of the glacier will also vanish by 2030.
WHAT IS THE REASON BEHIND SHRINKING KILIMANJARO’S GLACIERS?
In spite of there is no one specific reason which is causing the Kilimanjaro Glacier to melt. The obvious reason that is being made is global warming. However, some researchers also think that the snow is melting due to the deforestation around the foot of the mountain.
However, the quickest answer to this meeting will be global warming. The earth’s temperature is rising day by day, along with it the Kilimanjaro Temperature. The first sign of glacier melting started in the 1850s when all the global glaciers started to melt. Since then it has not stopped.
The rise in the earth’s surface temperature along with the temperature of the mid to upper tropical troposphere has caused the global phenomenon of shrinking of glaciers worldwide.
As many researchers believe, along with global warming, deforestation around Mount Kilimanjaro is also responsible for the rapid change in Kilimanjaro Climate, resulting in the melting of Kilimanjaro Glaciers.
Therefore deforestation leads to a change in the Kilimanjaro Weather pattern, causing less moisture in the air. This leads to less precipitation which causes less snowfall. Studies have shown that there has been very less snowfall on Mount Kilimanjaro in the past few decades.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The rapid shrinking of the Kilimanjaro Glacier is another sign of Climate Change. Due to less precipitation, there will be less rainfall, resulting in poor farming and less growth of the crops. This would hamper those sections of people whose main source of food and income is agriculture.
While as there are clear reasons for this change, various steps can be taken by the park authorities to reduce the drastic climate change around the mountain. Local people can also participate in the restoration and find ways to conserve their agricultural grounds. If you are planning your Kilimanjaro Trek, you should do it as soon as possible.
However, days are numbered to see snow and glaciers on the mountain top of Kilimanjaro. It is inevitable to rewind the damage that has already been done. At least what we can do is reduce the pace at which the Kilimanjaro Glaciers are melting. Contact Jerry Tanzania Tours to book a luxurious package for your Kilimanjaro Climb.