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Snows of Kilimanjaro Are Melting

When Ernest Hemingway wrote “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” he inadvertently crafted a perfect metaphor for the modern problem of global warming now threatening the famous icy peak in Tanzania that inspired the story early in the 20th century. In Hemingway’s 1936 tale, the main character dies having lived a life that was all about the present, with no regard for the future—much the same way modern industrial societies have done without concern for the long-term impact of pouring volumes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere just to meet immediate economic gains. That approach has resulted in noticeable changes to the earth’s landscape, including atop Africa’s highest peak, which within two decades will lose its picturesque glacier, scientists predict.

A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says the top of Kilimanjaro—which has been capped by a glacier for 12,000 years—will be ice-free in about 20 years, thanks to global warming. Eighty-five percent of the glacier has melted away since 1912, with 26% having disappeared just within this decade.
Researchers from Ohio State University, who drilled into the rock beneath the ice as part of their research, noted that even a drought of 300 years was unable to do the damage humankind has done in less than one century.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Tags:Tanzania, Mt Kilimanjaro
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