Local Land Use Causes Glacier Retreat in Africa

Published June 20, 2007

An article in the July-August issue of American Scientist sheds an important new light on the May 23 Dispatch article regarding the global warming presentation by Al Gore followers at York College.

The Dispatch noted the presentation’s claim that by 2015 there will be no snow left on Mt. Kilimanjaro due to global warming. However, prominent climate scientists report in the July-August issue of American Scientist that global warming is not responsible for the decline of Kilimanjaro’s mountaintop glacier. Most of the glacier’s retreat since the end of the Little Ice Age occurred before significant global warming occurred. Moreover, the scientists showed the retreat that has occurred in recent decades is not caused by global warming, but by fluctuating solar radiation and drier updrafts caused by local land-use practices. Indeed, temperatures atop Kilimanjaro rarely rise above freezing, regardless of any recent global warming, the scientists noted.

Still further, the American Scientist article merely confirms what scientists have known–and what Al Gore and his followers either knew or should have known–for years. As far back as November 23, 2003, Nature magazine reported, “Although it’s tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain’s foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests’ humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine.”

In his new book, The Assault on Reason, Gore claims, “We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science.” Al Gore and his followers should begin practicing what they preach.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute.