The climatological causes of modern glacier recession on Kilimanjaro

Recent glacier recession on Kilimanjaro has raised widespread discussion and speculations, both amongst experts and the public. The first main goal in this project is to reveal and quantify the impact of local climate on Kilimanjaro's glaciers by mass balance modeling. To drive and validate related models, meteorological and glaciological data are collected directly on the glaciers: Two new automatic weather stations were installed in February 2005 at 5,760 and 5,830m altitude, in addition to an existing one (5,794m). The station network is now able to capture the spatial variability in climate and weather on Kilimanjaro, recording standard variables (e.g., air temperature and humidity) but also special variables like radiative fluxes. In the second main goal, mass balance studies are complemented by regional climate model experiments and analyses of global climate model output, to also investigate the large-scale controls on local Kilimanjaro climate. Special emphasis is put on the activity of the circulation cell over the Indian Ocean. With this approach of considering different spatio-temporal scales, it may be possible to conclude on large-scale climate change from the local phenomenon of changing glaciers on Kilimanjaro.

Leitung: Kaser, Georg; Mölg, Thomas

MitarbeiterInnen: Cullen, Nicolas

Finanziert durch: Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF); Tiroler Wissenschaftsfonds

Laufzeit: 2004 - 2007

Kooperationspartner: University of Massachusetts (USA), University of Berne (CH), Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TZ)

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