Kilimanjaro is a volcano near the equator in Africa and the tallest peak on the continent that rises 19,340 ft above sea level. Temperatures there never get above freezing. Not that they aren't suppose to, but a weather station on top of the volcano shows that they still don't get above freezing. That is a major point here, and a contrast to the widely reported story just released by AP about disappearing ice caps
. The ice has shrunk (although data only goes up to 2007), but the reason is in dispute. Some of the local influence of tree cutters can be seen in this documentary video, To The Roof of Africa
. An Austrian group of scientists headed by Georg Kaser at The University of Innsbruck conducted research along with The University of Otago, New Zealand, and the University of Massachusetts and found that the ice issue is not being explained accurately.
In a presentation to European Geosciences Union General Assembly in 2007, Georg Kaser stated, "Plateau glaciers could be gone between 30-40 years, but expect slop glaciers to last longer". Another study by the California Academy of Sciences expected the ice to last beyond 2050. That is a lot longer than prior expectations. When Kilimanjaro first became the poster child of the Global Warming movement a few years ago, we were told that the ice would be gone at 2015. This latest report has pushed it back to 2020... perhaps because the ice is not melting nearly as fast as was expected. I have not seen any new data since 2007, so perhaps something will surface soon. Until now however, the battle line is drawn again between the media friendly story and opposing scientists who back up their beliefs with data. In fact this UNEP diagram promoting global warming awareness actually shows that the measured ice has leveled off quite a bit in the past decade. Why have there not been many pictures or data updates since 2000? The NASA Earth Observatory did provide a 2003 and 2004 picture, which does actually show how the snow and ice expanded during that one year. See the full set of images and more in the slide show below
What else could explain the ice melt?
Agreed that 90% of the ice has been lost since first measurements, but the reasoning is in dispute. The glacier atp Kilimanjaro is believed to have formed around 11,000 years ago during a wet period in eastern Africa. When the first European climbers reached the summit in 1889, the local climate was already dry,and the ice was already retreating. Kaser points out that this is due to sublimation. That is when snow an ice skip melting and goes directly to water vapor gas. Since there has not been enough snow to replenish the supply, then net result is ice loss. Again, not from melting since the temperature on the is still below freezing near the peak.
Kaser, climbs Kilimanjaro twice a year to gather data. He says the ice topography shows little evidence that melting is anything but a minor force. Basically he believes that based on ice core samples, conditions are returning to where they were 11,000 years ago. Jagged spires and cliffs made of ice up to 120 feet tall are not softened around the edges.
Precipitation Not Temperature
According to Douglas R. Hardy, a climatologist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, "'the real explanations are much more complex. Global warming plays a part, but a variety of factors are really involved.'" He believes that forest reduction in the areas surrounding Kilimanjaro, and not global warming, might be the strongest human influence on glacial recession. "'Clearing for agriculture and forest fires-often caused by honey collectors trying to smoke bees out of their hives-have greatly reduced the surrounding forests,'" he claims. The loss of foliage causes less moisture to be pumped into the atmosphere, leading to reduced cloud cover and precipitation and increased solar radiation and glacial evaporation. "Kilimanjaro is a grossly overused mis-example of the effects of climate change," said University of Washington climate scientist Philip Mote, co-author of an article in the July/August 2007 issue of American Scientist magazine. Mote actually believes in Global Warming, but not to this extent.
So why did the AP just release a story about the disappearing ice caps?
Perhaps it was conveniently timed with Al Gore's appearance on Good Morning America. Perhaps it times out with Senator Barbara Boxer's attempt to fast track the newly named Tax and Cap Bill called, "Clean Energy and American Power Act". Regardless, we are all about to be inundated with global warming and climate calamity stories leading up to the Climate Conference in Copenhagen on December 7th. We will continue to sort through the over simplification and distortion of stories and reports.
Click for slide show
Source Link: examiner.com