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View: Abstract

The shrinking glaciers of Kilimanjaro: Can global warming be blamed?

Mote, P.W., and G. Kaser. 2007. The shrinking glaciers of Kilimanjaro: Can global warming be blamed?. American Scientist 95(4):318-325.


Around the globe, mighty glaciers are retreating. In the European Alps and many other mid- and high-latitude locations, evidence clearly implicates global climate change-heat fluxes from warm air feeding processes that turn mighty glaciers into rivers of meltwater. High-altitude glaciers in the tropics are melting too; the area of the ice cap atop Kilimanjaro in tropical East Africa has shrunk more than 90 percent in a century and become a global-warming poster child. But Mote and Kaser say that the Kilimanjaro glaciers are not melting but sublimating-turning straight to vapor-under the direct action of solar radiation at temperatures that remain below freezing. Whatever is happening elsewhere, Kilimanjaro's ice seems not to be succumbing to climate change.