One of the most awe-inspiring and impressive sights you can expect to witness during your adventure to Uhuru Peak, the glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro are like walls of glistening ice against a space-like landscape.
Shining proudly against the morning sun for over 10,000 years, these magnificent glaciers have endured droughts, warms spells, and numerous sandstorms, but the latest research expedition to Kilimanjaro by glaciologists based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, revealed that these fields of ice are disappearing, and faster than we think.
Call it global warming, call it climate change, there are numerous terms one can use to explain the rising air temperatures and sea levels, but whatever expression you decide to use, the facts remain the same, Kilimanjaro’s peaks may soon be ice-free, with scientists predicting it will be gone altogether by 2060.
Researchers found that it is not just warmer temperatures that are affecting Kilimanjaro’s glaciers, but also the increasingly dry regional atmosphere that is starving Africa’s highest mountain of fresh snow. This dry air reduces cloud cover and allows the suns powerful rays to penetrate the ice surface, and in the 99 years between 1912 and 2011, the glaciers on the summit decreased by more than 85 percent.
Unfortunately, researchers now say it is no longer a question of whether the glaciers of Kilimanjaro will disappear but rather when, and if the scientist’s predictions are correct, we have just 47 years left to enjoy this snow-capped mountain of Africa.
Of course, we will still be able to climb Mount Kilimanjaro when the ice fields have gone, but if you want to experience the true magic of the mountain, it might be wise to push your ‘Climb Kilimanjaro’ wish to the top of that bucket list!