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

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More