UNEP Global Environmental Alert Services Releases Bulletin on Vulnerability of African Glaciers

UNEP22 August 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environmental Alert Service (GEAS) has released a bulletin on the current status of African glaciers. The bulletin focuses on the glaciers' vulnerability to climate change.

The nine-page bulletin reviews the status of retreating East African glaciers including those located on Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, Mount Kenya, in Kenya, and the Ruwenzori Range, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The bulletin explains that the observed glacial retreats are caused by global temperature increases, rises in atmospheric moisture, decreased precipitation and decreasing cloud cover.

The bulletin also considers the implications of the retreating glaciers. It stresses that if climatic trends continue, the East African glaciers will disappear within decades. According to the bulletin, glacier loss in East Africa will have little impact on freshwater supplies, as most melt is lost through sublimation. The bulletin predicts the major impact will be related to decreased tourist revenues in Kenya and Tanzania. [Publication: UNEP GEAS Bulletin, August 2012]