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.”