News / Africa

Expedition Begins Study of Uganda's Shrinking Ruwenzori Glaciers

Loss of glaciers in the Ruwenzori Mountains threatens plant and animal life in the protected areas of the range and threatens local water supplies. (Uganda Wildlife Authority)
Loss of glaciers in the Ruwenzori Mountains threatens plant and animal life in the protected areas of the range and threatens local water supplies. (Uganda Wildlife Authority)
TEXT SIZE - +
Kim Lewis
A two-week expedition into western Uganda’s Ruwenzori Mountains - Africa's fabled Mountains of the Moon - will begin tomorrow to assess the effects of climate change on Africa’s vanishing glaciers and raise awareness of the advent of a looming global water crisis.
 
Scientists from several environmental and water conservation groups and the Makerere University Mountain Resource Centre in Uganda will make the climb. They are led by Luc Hardy, the founder of similar expeditions to the Arctic region, and guided by the French climber, David Rastouil.

The climb is called the Doomed Glaciers of Africa expedition.

"What is happening in the Ruwenzoris sheds light on the challenges we are facing globally from climate change and the world water crisis," Hardy said in a press release earlier this week.
 
“There is a series of glaciers located in the Ruwenzori Mountains in Uganda," said Paul Garwood, communications director for Green Cross International, "and it’s been shown that within about 100 years the glacial area has been reduced from 7.5 kilometers to less than one kilometer.”  Green Cross is a non-profit organization in Geneva that was founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev. Green Cross is participating in the expedition.
 
“This is a result of climate change,” Garwood said.
 
Scientists believe climate change has led to the disappearance of mountain glaciers. They predict that the Ruwenzori’s glaciers - and sustainable water supplies - may be gone within two decades as this African glacier region continues to shrink.
 
“The purpose of this expedition is to record and survey the changes to the glacial region in western Uganda,” Garwood said.
 
They want to understand how fast the glaciers are receding, how the loss of glacier melt will effect local fauna - and most importantly - how the shrinkage is impacting water supplies for local residents.
 
“We’ve been receiving reports that even by the mid-2020’s the glaciers in those mountains could vanish,” said Garwood.  “Without those glaciers in the area, of course, we remove a vital supply of fresh water that can be made available to that area - to people and the local vegetation. 
 
Team members gather in Kasese, Uganda for the Saturday climb: Left to right: guide David Rastouil, Makerere University student Richard Atugonza, Sheila Ruyondo of the World Youth Parliament for Water, and leader Luc Hardy (Photo by Pax Arctica)Team members gather in Kasese, Uganda for the Saturday climb: Left to right: guide David Rastouil, Makerere University student Richard Atugonza, Sheila Ruyondo of the World Youth Parliament for Water, and leader Luc Hardy (Photo by Pax Arctica)
x
Team members gather in Kasese, Uganda for the Saturday climb: Left to right: guide David Rastouil, Makerere University student Richard Atugonza, Sheila Ruyondo of the World Youth Parliament for Water, and leader Luc Hardy (Photo by Pax Arctica)
Team members gather in Kasese, Uganda for the Saturday climb: Left to right: guide David Rastouil, Makerere University student Richard Atugonza, Sheila Ruyondo of the World Youth Parliament for Water, and leader Luc Hardy (Photo by Pax Arctica)
“There’s a major concern for the environment if the glaciers do disappear,” said Garwood.
 
The scientific expedition will include young people from different organizations including the World Youth Parliament for Water. They will trek through jungle, following the paths of water courses, studying the areas the glaciers once covered. 
 
Garwood pointed out that researchers also hope to develop the Mountain Resource Centre’s glacial monitoring capacities to help scientists and decision-makers understand the implications of climate change on the environment and on people. 
 
The information obtained from this expedition will also be applied to other shrinking water supplies throughout the world.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Steve Case from: Milwaukee, WI - USA
January 25, 2014 2:48 PM
"Without those glaciers in the area, of course, we remove a vital supply of fresh water ..."

Does it still rain and snow in the water shed? If it does still rain and snow, then the river coming down the valley where the glacier used to be will still flow and there will be no removal of any vital water supply.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid