Time is running out for Uganda’s glaciers to disappear.


Leaving the hills of the settlement, we soon crossed the border of the park and entered the tropical forest; There, the jewel-like flowers slipped through giant ferns and ferns and disappeared into the dry woods. We climbed to 12,800 feet (3,900 meters) and walked through a bamboo forest; There we entered the otherworldly Afro-alpine moorland.

For two days we jumped from grassy tussocks to slippery tree roots, through spongy corruption and silent rivulets. A lich’s beard flutters from the branches of the giant heather trees. Rwenzori red duikers, an endangered species of antelope, peer out from a dense thicket of papery silver evergreens.

The plants, peculiarly adapted to their habitat, became strange when we left. Huge meadows dotted the valley floor. Their spiky green pom poms make them look like palm trees, but their dry fronds protect them from the cold.

As the planet warms, plants and animals are moving upward in the Ravenzoris, where, like everywhere else, they seek cooler temperatures. But you can only go so far. Finally, “they’re just off the top of the mountain,” said Penn State researcher Sarah Ivory.

“Now you can find rock hyrax footprints on the ice,” Bwambal said as we walked. “Same goes for the Dukes.”

On the fifth day we noticed some changes of our own. Comparing one of Sella’s photographs with the landscape today, we discovered that a snow-covered pond in the valley between Mount Berger and Mount Stanley had dwindled to nothing.

The top three A 2019 paper reports that all of Africa has lost an impressive amount of ice over the past century Geoscience. At Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest point, the snow has shrunk by 90 percent since it was first measured in 1912, to less than 1 square mile. The glaciers on Mount Kenya, the second highest in Africa, are less than ten square miles. The little-explored glacier in the Rwenzoris covered approximately 2.5 square miles in 1906. In the year In 2003, they covered less than 1 square mile. Today there are fewer.

As glaciers retreat everywhere, the causes vary from place to place. In the Rwenzoris, where glaciers occur at a relatively low 14,400 feet (4,400 meters), warming is a problem. The mountains, whose name means “rainmaker” in the local language, receive 6 to 10 feet of rain a year, so the glaciers aren’t starving — the rain is freezing and melting faster than it can replace the melted snow. However, on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, where snow occurs at higher altitudes, rainfall has decreased. Here the snow is evaporating into dry air.

Regardless of the cause, high-altitude snow is disappearing—a trend that global warming is accelerating as changes in mountain ecosystems, cryospheric systems, hydrologic systems, and biodiversity change, according to the Mountain Research Initiative.


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