Mount Kilimanjaro and Global Warming

by Michael Bloch - Date: 2007-01-20 - Word Count: 368 Share This!

Mount Kilimanjaro was made famous in the western world by the acclaimed writer Ernest Hemingway, who wrote the short story "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" in the 1930's.

When you think of Africa, snow is usually one of the last things that comes to mind, but Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania had a substantial snow and ice capped peak for over 11 thousand years. I say "had" as it's rapidly disappearing. This is yet another example of how a natural wonder that seemed so permanent has apparently fallen victim to man's destructive ways.

In the last one hundred years, it's estimated Mount Kilimanjaro's ice cap volume has dropped by more than 80%. In 1901, there was approximately 12.1 square kilometres of ice on the mountain. Aerial photographs taken in 2000 showed only 2.2 sq km remaining. The truly disturbing point is that most of the loss has occurred since 1970.

What little remains of the glaciers atop Mount Kilimanjaro are expected to disappear within the next 20 years.

Mt Kilimanjaro's importance far exceeds a nice photo opportunity or inspiration for a novel. The ice cap was crucial to the surrounding area and it's also a source of water for the river Nile. Many villages in the Mount Kilimanjaro region depend on the snow and ice melt water. Animals on the plains surrounding the mountain are now dying and many plant species are also at risk.

With the disappearance of the caps, scientists will also lose an important climate record spanning back thousands of years. This record is contained in ice core layers that are similar to the annual growth rings on trees, indicating rainfall and other historical climate related events.

While there's still some debate amongst the scientific community as to what is causing the receding ice; the general consensus is carbon dioxide fueled global warming related climate change. Again.

It's an odd distinction our generation has - bearing witnesses to some of the greatest global environmental upheavals for tens of thousands of years; and perhaps a "privilege" that we'd prefer not to have. Who would have thought that a single animal, man, could exact such a toll so quickly across the entire planet; even in areas we've barely set foot on.

How will our children's children judge us?

Related Tags: global warming, snow, ice, carbon dioxide, climate change, mount, kilimanjaro

Michael Bloch has been working the web as a successful marketing and development consultant since the late 90's. Michael owns and operates; a popular Internet marketing and ecommerce resources site providing online business owners and affiliate marketers with valuable free advice, articles, tutorials and tools.

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