Peak is losing its snow

WASHINGTON - The snows capping Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest peak, are shrinking rapidly and could vanish altogether in 20 years, most likely due to global warming, a US study published yesterday said.

WASHINGTON - The snows capping Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest peak, are shrinking rapidly and could vanish altogether in 20 years, most likely due to global warming, a US study published yesterday said.

The ice sheet that capped Kilimanjaro in 1912 was 85percent smaller by 2007, and since 2000 the existing ice sheet has shrunk by 26percent, the paleoclimatologists said.

The findings point to the rise in global temperatures as the most likely cause of the ice loss. Changes in cloudiness and precipitation may have also played a smaller, less important role, especially in recent decades, they added.

"This is the first time researchers have calculated the volume of ice lost from the mountain's ice fields," said study co-author Lonnie Thompson, professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, and published in the National Academy of Sciences' journal. - Sapa-AFP

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