Deforestation diminishing the Snows of Kilimanjaro

Last year a Huffington Post post conjectured that the loss of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro was another sign of global warming. A team observed that Kilimanjaro’s glaciers were receding and “The increase of Earth’s near surface temperatures, coupled with even greater increases in the mid- to upper-tropical troposphere, as documented in recent decades, would at least partially explain” the observations.

I and others pointed out that the more likely reason for the receding glaciers could be explained by deforestation. Now, nearly a year later, New Scientist has a post that more data point to deforestation. “Nicholas Pepin from the University of Portsmouth, UK, and colleagues say deforestation could be an important part of the puzzle,” because transpiration from trees plays a role in humidity and temperature. “Pepin suggests that extensive local deforestation in recent decades has likely reduced this flow of moisture, depleting the mountain’s icy hood.” Professor Pepin is no denier of climate change and has been studying global warming for two decades. According to his biography on the University’s site, his “main research interest is in assessing evidence for climate change in the mountainous areas of the globe, specifically how the high elevation signal of global warming may be different to that at sea-level.”

Deforestation’s causes are many but in Africa cooking and heating with wood is much of the problem.

Would better stoves help slow the loss of snow from Kilimanjaro?

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