Ice Core Paleoclimatology

Tanzania - Mt. Kilimanjaro (2000)

Ancillary Studies

No routine meteorological observations have been made on Kilimanjaro prior to this project . Therefore, concurrent with the February 2000 drilling program, colleagues Raymond Bradley and Doug Hardy (Univ. Massachusetts) established an automatic weather station (AWS) at the NIF2 drill site (5794 m a.s.l.; 506 hPa) to continuously measure aspirated air temperature and humidity, incoming solar radiation, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, and changes in the surface height by either accumulation or ablation. The AWS is shown below. Details are available from the UMass web site at

Also in February 2000 accumulation stakes were placed on the tops of the three ice fields and along the front of the crater-side wall of the NIF. These stakes. remeasured in February 2001, revealed that the surfaces of the three ice fields (NIF, FWG and SIF) had lowered 1.09 m, 0.64 m, and 1.08 m, respectively. This mass loss from the upper surfaces resulted in the removal of the most recent stratigraphic layers and the climate records they contain. The measurement of the 3 stakes placed in front of the vertical walls confirmed a retreat distance ranging from 0.5 to 1.0 meter in a single year (2000-2001). It is likely that the position of the ice edge varies through time. These observations, coupled with the meteorological observations for 2001 and 2002, document a loss of ~0.93 m (water equivalent, w.e.) from 2000 to 2001 and a positive balance of ~0.13 m w.e. from 2001 to 2002.