CASE STUDIES

Ice on the Land – Mt Kilimanjaro

Ice on the Land – Mt Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

At over 5,000 metres (16,400 feet)Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa

and has had an ice covering throughout the whole of human history. Even as late as the late 1880s the summit was completely covered with an ice cap and glaciers, which descended the slope.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the amount of ice in the glaciers and ice cap have decreased by around 80%. The rate of disappearance seems to be accelerating; of the ice which remained on the summit in 2000, a quarter had disappeared seven years later. Many scientists believe there will be no snow cover left by 2030.

Environmental campaigners often use Kilimanjaro as an illust

ration of global warming because there are photographs which seem to clearly show the retreat of ice over the last few decades. However some believe the retreat is due to intensive farming nearby, as part of which

nearby forests have been burned down.

There seems little doubt that the glaciers and ice cap on Africa’s most famous mountain are in fast retreat; the difficulty is in getting scientists to agree on its cause.