Kilimanjaro’s Glaciers May Last Longer Than Predicted


In contrast to reports of global wreaking havoc worldwide — from Kiribati, to Greenland; from Costa Rica, to Siberia; from the US, to numerous other destinations — a joint Austrian-U.S. research team is reporting that there’s one place that isn’t succumbing to global warming quite as fast as expected: Kilimanjaro.

After reviewing 7 years of measurements taken from weather stations atop Africa’s tallest mountain, the researchers have concluded that Kili’s ice fields will be around for another 30 to 40 years, at least — and the glaciers on its slopes could last even longer. That’s pretty sweet news, especially considering Kili’s icepacks have been retreating since the 1800s, and scientists had thought they could disappear altogether as early as 2020.

Before you get all giddy about the prospect of the ice pack being around forever, it’s important to bear in mind that the glaciers now measure about 0.8 square miles, down from 4.6 square miles in 1912. However, it appears that the 2006 El Niño brought heavy snowfall to the mountain that fattened the peak’s glaciers, increasing their thickness even though their surface area stayed the same. Of course, 0.8 square miles is still pretty tiny, but not too tiny to plan that once-in-a-lifetime trip to tackle Kili.

[Thanks, Marilyn!]