Rwenzori ice mass may vanish - report
Posted Sunday, March 9 2014 at 02:00
A two-week expedition to Uganda’s “Doomed Glaciers of Africa” has revealed disturbing impacts linked to climate change, including rapid ice melting and the threat of reduced access to water for the area’s inhabitants.
The expedition to western Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains was a collaborative effort between Pax Arctica, Makerere University’s Mountain Resource Centre, Green Cross International and the World Youth Parliament for Water.
According to a press release to the Sunday Monitor on Thursday, the expedition was to study Africa’s disappearing glaciers and raise awareness on the global water crisis.
A final report is expected in the coming months, but initial observations were disturbing.
Cease in two decades
“Normal melting caused by the dry season (June-August) has worsened,” said expedition leader Luc Hardy of Green Cross France et Territoires, and founder of Pax Arctica.
“You can see how the glacier is sandwiched between warming at the top and warming at the bottom.”
Scientists have predicted the glaciers in the Rwenzori Mountains, commonly known as the Mountains of the Moon, may cease to exist in two decades, possibly as early as the mid-2020s.
Studies have shown that from 1906 to 2003, the area covered by glaciers has reduced from 7.5 km2 to less than 1 km2 (a decline at a rate of 0.7 km2 per decade.)
Receding glaciers have seen a reduction over time of water flow in the Nyamwamba River, leading to noticeable declines in hydroelectric power and reduced agricultural production. Research efforts to discover the impact of the disappearance of these glaciers are now critical.