Over 150 years ago, when the first European visitors documented Kilimanjaro’s appearance, the volcano’s cone was covered with a thick crust of ice - what was once a solid ice climb is now a scree and rock climb. The ice disappearing is of grave concern and a very complicated issue relating to global climate change and deforestation around the mountain's base. According to research found in a 2009 article in the science journal Nature, scientists working on Kilimanjaro’s glaciers have found they are at least 11,700 years old but 90% of this ice has since vanished. The loss of this ice predates the start of human-caused climate change by several decades but the rate of glacier shrinkage has doubled since the 1970s — when human caused climate change kicked in. All over the world tropical glaciers are receding, as indeed most are in all latitudes. The fact that these glaciers are on their way to completely vanishing within 20 years marks a significant change in East Africa’s climate.
There are many forces driving the climate of East Africa, one being the increased dryness of East Africa - the cause of droughts and famines in Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan - which may be the key driver of glacier shrinkage and may in fact be speeding up due to global climate change. A Second Driver Of Local Climate Change On Kilimanjaro Is Deforestation. Over A Million People Depend On The Rainfall And Rich Vegetation On Kilimanjaro’s Green Slopes Though Scientists Who Are Studying This Effect Have Not Found Any Evidence This Is Affecting The Glaciers.
Although early climate and culture studies were mainly founded in archaeology and environmental anthropology, with the advent of climate change, anthropology's roles have expanded to engage local to global contexts.