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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs