The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro will have disappeared within two decades because of global warming, the Telegraph has reported.
85 per cent of the ice at the top of Kili has disappeared over the last 100 years. The rest is likely to melt by 2030, changing the 19,000 ft high mountain forever. As one of Africa's most famous sights, the snow capped mountain rising from the plains, with elephant and zebra trekking across the foreground, is an icon of Tanzania.
Researchers have come to their conclusions after drilling holes in the ice at the top of Kili. Since 1912 they believe it has been melting at an increased rate. A combination of climate change bringing less snows and global warming melting the existing snow, means that the ice is uncovering layers of dust from thousands of years ago. More worryingly it has released radioactive fallout from the merican 1951 -52 "Ivy" atomic tests that were buried in the ice.
Professor of earth sciences Lonnie Thompson said: "This is the first time researchers have calculated the volume of ice lost from the mountain's ice fields." He said that the increase in temperatures especially in the mid to upper atmosphere would most likely be the "underlying cause". Scientists warned other glaciers, on Mount Kenya, the Rwenzori Mountains in Africa, as well as tropical glaciers high in the South American Andes and in the Himalayas, are suffering the same fate.
The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.