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Oh no, not this Kilimanjaro rubbish again!

By Anthony Watts

Gore started this. Note to journalists everywhere: IT’S THE EVAPOTRANSPIRATION STUPID!

See this article to understand why linking snow on Kilimanjaro to small changes in global temperature is just flat wrong. The plains around Kilimanjaro have gone through years of deforestation. Less trees > less evapotranspiration > less snow.

Don’t believe me? Here’s news of a recent study from Portsmouth University Of Mt. Kilimanjaro ice waving us good-bye due to deforestation. Here’s another peer reviewed study from UAH saying the same thing.

File:Mt. Kilimanjaro 12.2006.JPG

Mount Kilimanjaro - Trees put moisture into the air via evapotranspiration, upslope winds precipitate it on Kilimanjaro. Image: Wikimedia

From News.com.au

Agence France-Presse

The ice sheet that capped Kilimanjaro in 1912 was 85 per cent smaller by 2007, and since 2000 the existing ice sheet has shrunk by 26 per cent, the paleoclimatologists said.

The findings point to the rise in global temperatures as the most likely cause of the ice loss.

Changes in cloudiness and precipitation may have also played a smaller, less important role, especially in recent decades, they added.

“This is the first time researchers have calculated the volume of ice lost from the mountain’s ice fields,” study co-author Lonnie Thompson said.

Mr Thompson is the professor of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University.

“If you look at the percentage of volume lost since 2000 versus the percentage of area lost as the ice fields shrink, the numbers are very close,” he said in the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While the yearly loss of the mountain glaciers was most apparent from the retreat of their margins, Mr Thompson said an equally troubling effect was the thinning of the ice fields from the surface.

The summits of both the Northern and Southern Ice Fields atop Kilimanjaro have thinned by 1.9m) and 5.1m respectively.

The smaller Furtwangler Glacier, which was melting and water-saturated in 2000 when it was drilled, has thinned as much as 50 per cent between 2000 and 2009.

“It has lost half of its thickness,” Mr Thompson said. “In the future, there will be a year when Furtwangler is present and by the next year, it will have disappeared.

“The whole thing will be gone.”

The scientists said they found no evidence of sustained melting anywhere else in the ice core samples they extracted, which date back 11,700 years.**

They said their findings show that current climate conditions over Mt Kilimanjaro were unique over the last 11 millennia.

See the story at news.com.au

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** There wasn’t organized farming near Kilimanjaro until the last century. Farming preparation clears trees, trees evapotranspirate mositure. Less trees, less moisture.

File:Surface water cycle.svg

Image: Wikimedia

No surprise then they don’t see it in the ice core record. It is simply bad science to not consider land use issues looking you in the face while you drill ice cores on the slopes. – Anthony

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