Hydrology and Land Surface Studies
Recent glacial recession in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa due to rising air temperature
Article first published online: 17 MAY 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 10, May 2006
How to Cite
2006), Recent glacial recession in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa due to rising air temperature, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L10402, doi:10.1029/2006GL025962., , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 17 MAY 2006
- Article first published online: 17 MAY 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 12 APR 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 10 APR 2006
- Manuscript Received: 15 FEB 2006
 Based on field surveys and analyses of optical spaceborne images (LandSat5, LandSat7), we report recent decline in the areal extent of glaciers in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa from 2.01 ± 0.56 km2 in 1987 to 0.96 ± 0.34 km2 in 2003. The spatially uniform loss of glacial cover at lower elevations together with meteorological trends derived from both station and reanalysis data, indicate that increased air temperature is the main driver. Clear trends toward increased air temperatures over the last four decades of ∼0.5°C per decade exist without significant changes in annual precipitation. Extrapolation of trends in glacial recession since 1906 suggests that glaciers in the Rwenzori Mountains will disappear within the next two decades.