Why Kilimanjaro's Glaciers Are Melting

mount kilimanjaro is one of the largest

mountains in the world an extraordinary


but what a lot of people don't know

about it is it's home to some of the

best ice climbing in the world

or at least it has been until now

in 2014 i climbed the ice fins on top of

kilimanjaro there's these

just shark fins sticking out of the

landscape up there

and even then scientists were saying

that by 2020 they could be gone

the roof of africa used to be covered in

ice really covered

and now there's these lonely little

ice cubes out there in the middle of the


we have a really strong team along with

us we have christian pondella who took

some of the really iconic pictures in


using christian's photos from six years

ago as our record

how different will it all look now

i'm really excited and nervous to see

what's still there so

mainly i just want to get going it's

been a lot of traveling to get here and

now it's time to go

i'm will gad i've been a professional

ice climber for more than 30 years

and i've been lucky enough to climb all

over the world

i've climbed icebergs off the coast of


i climbed under the greenland ice sheet

and climb niagara falls

if it's ice i'll probably clap it



check it out is that it that's the old

that's the old fan that's it wow

that's that's not the same fin

that used to be a fin that went back

into a giant piece the size of like a

couple of houses

and and that's gone totally gone

you got those photos

it is pretty much unrecognizable isn't


that's different yeah

that's where that canyon was we went


this used to be kind of a gateway right

here and now it's

now you could fly a plane through there

you know it's massive

the fin i climbed on is gone and the

piece that used to be the size of a

couple of houses

is down to you know if

a good-sized bar could go through that

in a night for drinks

so yeah massive changes up here in the

last few years


and this is the best snow year in 50

years apparently

there's obviously been a good snow pack

but already

it's melting out and the sand is so warm

that it's going to

warm the glacier up so fast you can just

literally put your hands in it and it's

like being at the beach which if you're

a glacier is really

not what you want at all

doug has spent his life researching what

glaciers can teach us about climate

this is his 21st expedition to the top

of kilimanjaro

and he understands more than anyone

about this unique ice here on the


so big question here is why is the ice

on kilimanjaro disappearing it really

seems that the ice is suffering here

from changes in humidity in the

atmosphere so

the lack of clouds and more clear sky

so that there's more energy received at

the surface

which is causing the lowering of the


i hear climate change and i think global

warming this is all about global warming

yeah but this isn't really about

the temperature rising it's about the

climate changing

and there being less snow here making

less ice

and then it being drier so the ice here

evaporates quicker

exactly right your key word there is

change the carbon dioxide in the

atmosphere is really changing

changing everything

over one century from 1912 scientists

estimate that

90 of the ice on kili disappeared

you really can see dramatically how the

ice extent has changed over time

yeah but the rate of loss seems to be

getting even faster

measuring the glacier next to this fin

doug calculates it's reduced by a


70 percent since we were here just six

years ago

with doug's help i'm beginning to

understand that the ice up here is

acting as an

important marker of how our planet is

responding to climate change

it's shocking there's there's no other

word for it it is genuinely shocking

i didn't expect it to go this fast like


it's just disappearing so quickly now

you look at that and i'm just taking

pictures of it so it's

getting beautiful on it they are very

beautiful pieces of ice but

it does it does seem like we're sort of

dancing on the bones of something's

grave you know

disappearing ice due to climate change

is not an abstract concept

when i show up to climb ice on

kilimanjaro and all there are these

little bumps left

of what used to be you know 100 meters

thick yeah i find that really


a lot of what i've done with my life is

climb ice so i show up and it's not


and it's not just kilimanjaro it's


it's a problem for ice climbers but it's

a much

bigger problem for the rest of the world

i think it's a little bit of an

awakening for me i i do need to do

more what i've seen here will change how

i live my life

i will use less carbon going forward

full stop

so yeah time to change