London: Deforestation on mount Kilimanjaro could be partly to blame for its vanishing ice cap, say researchers.
The ice on Kilimanjaro`s peak has shrunk to just 15 per cent of its extent in 1912, leading campaigners to hold it up as a symbol of climate change.
However, other factors are also at play, reports New Scientist.
For instance, the air at the summit is getting drier, reducing the snowfall that replenishes the ice and reflects solar radiation.
Now, Nicholas Pepin from the University of Portsmouth, UK, and colleagues say aggressive tree felling could be an important part of the puzzle.
Between September 2004 and July 2008, the team took hourly humidity and temperature readings at 10 elevations on the mountain. These revealed that daytime heating generates a flow of warm, moist air up
Trees play an important role in the range by providing moisture through transpiration. Pepin concludes that extensive local deforestation in recent decades has likely reduced this flow of moisture, depleting the mountain`s icy hood.