Snows of Kili no more

Bleak news today for those hoping to one day see the iconic snow atop Kilimanjaro.  You don’t have much time left.

According to the author of a new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that snow could be gone by 2022.  In 2002, the same team predicted that ice levels would be where they are now.  Since 1912, roughly 85 percent of the ice cover has disappeared.

There is disagreement over the main cause, though signs point to climate change.  The team used both aerial photographs and ground measurements of snow levels.  They found “elongated bubbles” only in the top of core samples, which suggests recent melting and refreezing that is not evident at any other time in the last 12,000 years.

Those who disagree suggest it’s really just low moisture levels (but isn’t such a changing climate pattern also a offshoot of climate change?).  However, a 300-year drought over 4,000 years ago only left a one-inch layer of dust, no evidence of similar melting.

I, for one, had always hoped to summit Kilimanjaro and see the snows up close. I suppose that is likely out of range now for me and most of the readers of this blog.  I imagine prices will soar now as the number of remaining trips becomes a finite and increasingly rare commodity.