Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, located in east of the tropical country Tanzania. It attracts thousands of visitors each year, being one of the most famous mountains in the world. Resembling an ancient mythological giant, the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro has inspired and mesmerized visitors for centuries. Many associate the mountain with images of snow, but due to great changes in climate over the last decades, it has become historically hard to determine if there is still snow on mount Kilimanjaro.
Despite being situated close to the equator, mount Kilimanjaro carries snow on its peak. The summit is found a height of 5,886 meters and the snow varies from patches to thick glacier, depending on the season and the year. As a comparison, the highest peaks in North America and Europe, Mount McKinley and the alps respectively, have no more snow due to their location in lower latitude. A study from 2016 conducted by the World Meteorological Organization found that Kilimanjaro has been warming up at a rate of 0.5 degrees Celsius per decade since the 1970s, causing roughly 80% of its ice to disappear.
Impact On Surrounding Environment
Aside from the extraordinary physical beauty of Kilimanjaro, the mountain has been a source of lava life in its lower slopes. Farmers have received fertile soil and clean water supply, allowing them to share their produce with neighbouring populations. Nevertheless, it appears that the snow cover has decreased significantly in the last decades, compromising the renewable resources fed by its melting snow. This has caused a significant pressure on the natural environment, and even more so on the fragile local ecosystem.
The Future Of Snow On Mount Kilimanjaro
Given the extreme conditions to survive in a 5,886-meter-high mountain and the decelerating snow rate, it seems impossible for Kilimanjaro to sustain an off-peak snow cover. Nonetheless, the situation remains unpredictable and scholars have cautiously suggested that one year of abundant snow would help to pause the melting rate of the mountain and re-stabilize the environment in the nearby areas. Apart from anomalous cases, most experts agree that the continuous snow cover on Mt Kilimanjaro is close to its end and the area will most certainly become green with vegetation.
Impact On Kilimanjaro’s Population and Economy
Over recent years, the diminishing snow on Kilimanjaro has had a direct impact on the local economy and population. Historically, the so-called snow-line has been an indicator for the population, being a weather boundary demarcating a different level of fertility and therefore of productivity in the land. As a result, a decline in snow coverage has been an enormous obstacle to the locals way of life.
Reasons Behind The Snow Levy Reduction On Kilimanjaro
It is not just global warming to blame for the snow decline on Kilimanjaro. The impact of human interaction has been majorly predictive in the decline of the snow, with air pollution and over-diplomacy being the main culprits. According to the World Wildlife fund, the burning of fossil fuels and other industrial activities have had negative marks on the snow cover, as well as trails and heavily trafficked roads resulting from mass tourism have also contributed to affect the landscape on Kilimanjaro.
It is difficult to fully gauge the disintegration of Kilimanjaro, and even harder to predict the future of its snow-capped peak. Nevertheless, Kilimanjaro has been and will continue being a symbol of strength and courage to every visitor and admirers of its immensity. Although the future of its snow may be unsteady, Kilimanjaro’s main appeal remains unchanged.
An increasing amount of organizations have been launching new conservation campaigns to restore the past glory of Kilimanjaro. This usually involves environmental education and the planting of trees in the mountainside. Multiple national parks and recreation areas have been founded to protect the remaining natural habitats, while injecting the much needed financial resources to the local economy.
The international community has been actively following research and developments regarding the Kilimanjaro glacier, and has invested heavily into saving the area. A number of awareness campaigns have been set up to spread the word about the degrading environment and teach future generations to respect the magnitude of nature. It is certainly a great opportunity for those interested in contributing to the preservation of one of theworlds most iconic peaks.
Climate Change Mitigation
It is clear that the snow on Mt Kilimanjaro is in a critical situation, and it is time to take drastic actions to restore the lost environment. Part of these efforts include using alternative energy efficient resources to reduce climate change and restoring the glaciers. Governments of adjacent countries in Africa have invested in new green initiatives, as well as encouraging local communities to recycle and reduce their carbon footprints.