The Retreat of Kilimanjaro

Published June 20, 2007

Dear Editor:

As someone who hopes to visit Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro someday, I really enjoyed your May 15 article on David Boone’s trip to Kilimanjaro. The article did an excellent job of conveying Kilimanjaro’s beauty and Mr. Boone’s dedication to seeing nature’s wonders.

But in the last paragraph, you note that “The snow of Kilimanjaro may melt–researchers say global warming has already reduced the glacier atop the mountain by 80 percent, and some have predicted it will disappear by 2040.”

Have you seen the latest issue of American Scientist? In the July-August issue, scientists report that global warming is not to blame for the retreat of Kilimanjaro’s glacier. The scientists note most of the retreat occurred before any significant human influence on global temperatures, and the lesser, more recent retreat is connected to drier mountain updrafts due to local land-use patterns. This confirms what Nature magazine reported in its November 23, 2003 issue.

I am interested to hear your take on these scientific findings.

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