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 Kilimanjaro's Snows Gone by 2022?

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PostSubject: Kilimanjaro's Snows Gone by 2022?   Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:06 pm

Ernest Hemingway must be reaching for a bottle of grappa in his grave. The snows of Kilimanjaro—inspirations for a Hemingway story of the same name—could be gone by 2022, a new study confirms.

The ice atop Kilimanjaro "continues to diminish right on schedule for disappearing, unfortunately, in the next couple of decades," said glaciologist Lonnie Thompson at Ohio State University in Columbus.



For decades scientists have documented the disappearing glaciers on Kilimanjaro, whose peak is Africa's highest point.

Whether Kilimanjaro's ice loss is due to global warming or more local factors, though, has been a point of debate. Some studies have suggested the ice loss is due primarily to what some see as local factors: less snowfall and more sublimation—a process that turns ice directly into water vapor at below freezing temperatures.

The new study appears to strengthen the argument that global warming is to blame—and that, in addition to sublimating the ice atop Africa's tallest mountain, rising global temperatures are also melting the ice.

"What we are seeing on Kilimanjaro is global climate change," Thompson said.

ccording to Thompson, the drier and less cloudy conditions leading to sublimation on Tanzania's Kilimanjaro are part of a suite of changes driven by global warming.

"You change the temperature profile of this planet, you are going to change precipitation and cloudiness and humidity and temperature," he said. "Those are all part of climate change.

"And so to say that that Kilimanjaro is not responding to global climate change is untrue."

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