The snow and ice that usually top the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) have virtually disappeared in what geoscientists estimate is the first time in approximately 11,000 years.
Environmental activists say the icecap’s loss is a direct result of rising temperatures in recent decades. According to Greenpeace, the damage to Mt. Kilimanjaro is a harbinger of the harmful effects that will be experienced “first and hardest by the environment and people of Africa.” Others contend that dry air currents caused by local deforestation, rather than global warming, caused the icecap to melt.
All of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s snow and glacial deposits are likely to melt completely by 2020, according to geoscientists. Meanwhile, a recent Worldwide Fund for Nature study indicates that Himalayan glacial melting has accelerated to 10-15 meters annually. Scientists also attribute changes in animal and plant populations and declining salinity levels in northern oceans to gradually warming global temperatures.
Evidence of the emblematic icecap’s disappearance appeared recently in a photograph taken as part of NorthSouthEastWest (http://www.northsoutheastwest.org), a project highlighting the effects of climate change around the world.
Among the first to view the visual testimony were environment and energy ministers from 20 countries during a two-day conference in March. The conference was convened to discuss Britain’s top priorities – climate change and Africa – during its dual presidencies of the G8 and the European Union this year.
Over the next two years, NorthSouthEastWest will tour the globe, stopping in Los Angeles, Melbourne and other cities.
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