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)
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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid