University of Washington climate scientist Philip W. Mote, co-author with Georg Kaser of an article in the July/August issue of American Scientist magazine, said most scientists who study Kilimanjaro's glaciers have long been uneasy with the volcano's poster-child status.
Pictures of the peak, which has lost 90% of its snow and ice, were featured in Al Gore's “An Inconvenient Truth.” Greenpeace activists once held a satellite news conference on the summit during an international climate conference.
Kilimanjaro has seen its glaciers decline steadily for well over a century, Mote said, due to lack of snowfall and sublimation, the same process that causes freezer burn by sucking moisture out of leftovers.
“Kilimanjaro is a grossly overused mis-example of the effects of climate change,” said Mote, who doesn’t want skeptics to use his and Kaser’s article to debunk broader climate-change trends.
He emphasized that global warming is, indeed, responsible for the melting away of nearly every other glacier around the globe. “Kilimanjaro just happens to be the worst possible case study.”