Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is one of the most iconic landmarks in East Africa. It is known for its snow-capped peaks, making it a popular tourist destination. Unfortunately, a recent study conducted by the University of Maine has found that the mountain’s snowcap is rapidly disappearing. This article will examine the history of Kilimanjaro’s snow cover, as well as the causes of its rapid snow loss.
History of Kilimanjaro’s Snow Cover
Kilimanjaro has been known for its snow-capped peaks for centuries. According to the University of Maine study, the snow cover peaked at 11.1 square miles in the early twentieth century. However, the snow cover has been rapidly shrinking since then, and the study found that the current snow cover is only 0.4 square miles.
The study also examined the historical temperature records to better understand the shrinking snow cover. It found that the average temperature of Kilimanjaro has been increasing since the 1940s, likely due to climate change. The rising temperatures have caused the snow to slowly melt away over the years.
Causes of Rapid Snow Loss
The primary cause of Kilimanjaro’s rapid snow loss is the rising temperatures due to climate change. Since the 1940s, the average temperature at the summit of Kilimanjaro has increased by 2.7 degrees Celsius. This has caused the snow to melt at an increasing rate, leading to the dramatic decrease in snow cover.
In addition, changes in the amount of precipitation can also contribute to the shrinking snow cover. According to the study, the average annual precipitation has been decreasing since the 1940s. This means that the snow is not being replenished, leading to further melting.
Mount Kilimanjaro’s snow cover has been rapidly shrinking in recent decades. This is primarily due to the increasing temperatures due to climate change, as well as decreases in precipitation. If the current rate of snow loss continues, Kilimanjaro’s iconic snow-capped peaks may soon disappear forever.