Famous Mt Kenya glaciers to disappear before 2030 – study

By Gatonye Gathura

The famous glaciers of Mt Kenya will be extinct within a decade with recent studies showing mass loss to have accelerated since 2010.

Studies between 2004 and 2016 show the glaciers at Mt Kenya to have declined by 44 per cent within the period. The highest mass loss at 46 per cent was recorded on the famous Lewis Glacier.

This loss, the study by the University of Graz, Austria, explains has led to the disintegration of Lewis Glacier into two parts

“If the current retreat rates prevail, Mt. Kenya’s glaciers will be extinct before 2030,” says the study published this month in the journal Geosciences.

An earlier mapping of Lewis Glazier, the largest on the mountain, indicated that between 1934 and 2010 the glacier lost 90 per cent of its volume.

The demise of the glaciers will also bring to an end one of the longest glacier monitoring activity in the tropics.

In the 1980s, the area of glaciers on the Mt Kenya was measured, and recorded as about 0.7 square kilometers — far smaller than the first observations made in the 1890s.

The Mountain Club of Kenya says there is less new snow accumulating in winter every year than melting in summer, leaving the mountain with no formation of new ice.

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