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Author Topic: Kilimanjaro Glaciers  (Read 4620 times)

ArcticMelt2

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Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« on: June 09, 2019, 07:45:39 AM »
It is believed that this is one of the oldest glaciers on the planet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kilimanjaro
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Because of the exceptionally prolonged dry conditions during the subsequent Younger Dryas stadial, the ice fields on Kilimanjaro may have become extinct around 11,500 years BP.[81] Ice cores taken from Kilimanjaro's Northern Ice Field (NIF) indicates that the glaciers there have a basal age of about 11,700 years,[83] although an analysis of ice taken in 2011 from exposed vertical cliffs in the NIF supports an age extending only to 800 years BP.[84] Higher precipitation rates at the beginning of the Holocene epoch (11,500 years BP) allowed the ice cap to reform.[81] The glaciers survived a widespread drought during a three century period beginning around 4,000 years BP.[81][85]

Now this 12-thousand-year-old ice is on the verge of total destruction.

http://kiboice.blogspot.com/2019/02/19-years-on-northern-icefield.html

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This week marks 19 years since AWS measurements began on Kilimanjaro's Northern Icefield (NIF). With enthusiastic help from our Tanzanian crew, Mathias Vuille and I installed a tower into the ice and connected the electronics. Remarkably, the same datalogger continues measurement and control functions, and the same solar panels continue to provide power. Most sensors have been swapped out for recalibration or replacement, yet the original barometric pressure sensor continues reliable measurements every hour.

Ice ablation since 2000 has substantially reduce the areal extent of all glaciers on the mountain. However, this portion of the NIF has "only" thinned by ~5 meters, because the low surface gradient retards meltwater runoff - which then refreezes in place as superimposed ice. Other portions of the NIF, and other glaciers, have thinned more dramatically. For example, ice no longer remains at February 2000 drill sites on the Furtwängler and Decken Glaciers, which were 9.5 and ~20 m thick at the time (respectively).

For comparison, the length of the longest cores of the Northern glacier does not exceed 50 meters:
https://byrd.osu.edu/research/groups/ice-core-paleoclimatology/projects/tanzania/kilimanjaro
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In January and February of 2000, six ice cores were drilled to bedrock from the three remnant ice fields on the rim and summit plateau atop Kilimanjaro (3° 03.7' S; 37° 21.2' E; 5893 m asl). The three longest cores (NIF1, NIF2, NIF3) were drilled to depths of 50.9, 50.8, and 49.0 meters, respectively, from the Northern Ice Field (NIF), the largest of the ice bodies.

Now this glacier is 5 meters thinner.

The radar in 2015 confirms that the thickness of this glacier is not more than 50 meters.

https://www.the-cryosphere.net/11/469/2017/

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The GPR profiles reveal an ice thickness ranging between (6.1 ± 0.5) and (53.5 ± 1.0) m. Combining these data with a very high resolution digital elevation model we spatially extrapolate ice thickness and give an estimate of the total ice volume remaining at NIF's southern portion as (12.0 ± 0.3) × 106 m3.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 07:59:02 AM »
The radar in 2015 confirms that the thickness of this glacier is not more than 50 meters.

https://www.the-cryosphere.net/11/469/2017/

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The GPR profiles reveal an ice thickness ranging between (6.1 ± 0.5) and (53.5 ± 1.0) m. Combining these data with a very high resolution digital elevation model we spatially extrapolate ice thickness and give an estimate of the total ice volume remaining at NIF's southern portion as (12.0 ± 0.3) × 106 m3.

In this work, there is a graph of how the thickest part of the oldest glacier falls.

This definitely proves that critical temperatures have already been reached, which are maximum for at least the last 12 thousand years.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 08:13:50 AM »
Map of the thickness of the last and oldest pieces of African ice.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2019, 08:25:51 AM »
The last map shows that in 2000 they drilled not in the thickest part of the glacier. In this regard, the ice Kilimanjaro may even be older than 12 thousand years. Theoretically, it could survive since the last interglacial time 140 thousand years ago.

I hope scientists will have time to re-drill the glacier before it finally melts.

grixm

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Re: Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2020, 05:58:14 PM »
Wildfire has been burning on the Kilimanjaro slopes for the past few days.

I was curious to see how, if at all, the nearby fire afffected the glaciers, so I checked the sat images. It's hard to conclude anything, snow cover is melting but it did so even before the fire started. Either way the snow cover is now less than it has been for over a year. And comparing with that time we can see that the glaciers have melted more, too.

I made a gif showing the Furtwangler glacier and its nearby ground, both in sept 2019, and this year october 5th, 10th and 15th. It is closer and closer to being gone forever.

grixm

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Re: Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2020, 11:44:49 PM »
Update on Kilimanjaro. There was snowfall in November but then it started melting again and now large parts of the summit is exposed again, and we're heading into a milder, drier season..

Attached is an animated gif, click to play. The red areas in the first frame is the remaining glaciers, as opposed to just snow.

grixm

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Re: Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2021, 10:51:56 PM »
Update on Kilimanjaro again. There was snow in January and a bit more in February so we lost the chance at record little snow for a while. But throughout March it has started to melt a bit again, and small strips are exposed along the ground on the sunny side of the glaciers, which means they are continuing melt too.

kassy

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Re: Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2021, 10:19:51 AM »
Not Kilimanjaro but near enough:

Uganda climate change: The people under threat from a melting glacier

Ronah Masika remembers when she could still see the snowy caps of the Rwenzori mountains, a Unesco World Heritage site on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The view was stunning every time she travelled from her home in Kasese town to the Ugandan capital, Kampala - and it was not even that long ago.

But now she cannot even catch a glimpse of the ice because the glacier is receding.

And it is not only the view that has changed.

Ms Masika recalls her grandmother used to grow beans to feed her family, and they would last until a new crop was ready to be harvested.

"Now I and other people find it difficult to sustain ourselves with what we plant at home, because everything gets destroyed by floods or drought. It's either too much drought or too much rain.

"It's making me uncomfortable, thinking of how the next generation is going to survive this horrible situation," says Ms Masika, who now works on a project to mitigate the impact of the shifting environment.

Climate change is affecting the Rwenzori Mountains in different ways.

The most visible is the rapid loss of the ice field, which shrunk from 6.5 sq km in 1906 to less than one sq km in 2003, and could completely disappear before the end of this decade, research shows.

In 2012, forest fires reached altitudes above 4,000m, which would have been inconceivable in the past, devastating vegetation that controlled the flow of the rivers downstream.

Since then, the communities living at the foot of the Rwenzori have suffered some of the most destructive floods the area has ever seen, coupled with a pattern of less frequent but heavier rainfall.

and more on:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56526631
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grixm

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Re: Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2021, 05:14:56 PM »
Update on Kilimanjaro. Very little snow during the last few months, so snow cover has steadily decreased. Still far from a record, though. Attached is a gif of the summit from May until now.

grixm

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Re: Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2021, 10:39:31 PM »
Update on Kilimanjaro. Still almost no precipitation for several months. Attached is an animation. The result is that almost all the snow is gone! If this keeps up, it will be first time this happened since 2019. Ground is bare and glaciers look awful with a gray/blue color. Melting at full speed.

kassy

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Re: Kilimanjaro Glaciers
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2021, 08:36:20 PM »
Thanks for watching that one for us. It does not look good but well we did not expect that.
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