Sunday, August 12, 2012

Remembering Emmanuel Mtui

The Kilimanjaro community lost a kind person and a strong leader on July 31st, when Emmanuel Mtui was tragically killed in a vehicle accident on the Marangu-Rombo road. He lived in Mbahe, not far from Park Headquarters and the Marangu Gate, and leaves behind his wife and 5 children. Emmanuel worked for years as a Senior Guide at Summit Expeditions & Nomadic Experience (SENE). His leadership style was subtle, yet tremendously effective - orchestrating his trips almost as if by remote control. With pride, attention to detail, and a sense of humor, Emmanuel carefully looked after his staff and clients alike. He will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know him.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to Emmanuel's family may send a personal check made out to Summit Expeditions and Nomadic Experience with "Emmanuel Mtui" in the "for" line. The SENE US office is at: 1808 Riverside Ave S. Suite 208 Minneapolis, MN 55454. More photos of Emmanuel are posted here, and comments may be made on the SENE facebook page.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summit snowcover - late July

Recent posts have detailed the extent of snowfall during the 2012 Long Rains, which included a couple atypical events during June. Below are some images from the summit taken at the very end of July, snowing snowcover on the crater rim and within the crater.  Imagine the effect of this snowcover on energy exchanges at the crater surface, when perhaps only 30% of the intense incoming solar radiation is absorbed rather than roughly 80% without snow. The effect on people climbing the mountain is likewise severe, exposing skin to radiation from all directions; big sunhats offer protection only from incoming sun!

These images were shot by Peter Greig during a reconnaissance climb for the project Wings Of Kilimanjaro (WoK). In early 2013 a large number of pilots will paraglide and hang-glide off the top while raising a substantial amount of money for Tanzanian charities. Additionally, their goal is to "reinforce the universal need for humanity, compassion and generosity inherent in all of us". More photos from the reconnaissance are available on facebook.

Image captions:
  1. late afternoon in the crater, with Uhuru Peak to the left and the Furtwängler Glacier to the right
  2. nearing Uhuru Peak, showing snowcover on the ridge above the southern glaciers
  3. morning within the crater, walking East between Furtwängler Glacier and the descent from Stella Point; note some topographic shading here
  4. looking North across the crater from high on Uhuru Peak; "crater camp" is visible in the foreground by the Furtwängler Glacier fragments, with the Northern Ice Field in the distance. At this time of year, when the sun is in the northern hemisphere, north-facing slopes such as those above crater camp are the first to become snow free.
Peter Greig photo, Wings Of Kilimanjaro

Peter Greig photo, Wings Of Kilimanjaro
Peter Greig photo, Wings Of Kilimanjaro
Peter Greig photo, Wings Of Kilimanjaro

Thursday, August 2, 2012

June & July weather

A summary of the previous month's weather at Kilimanjaro's summit is typically posted (here) within the first few days of each month. This year the June synopsis didn't make it in time, due to travel for other fieldwork. As usual though, the temperature fell slightly and the average humidity dropped relative to May, but two other reasons made the month noteworthy. First, June saw a net increase in the glacier surface height. Although the net change was only +4 cm, this was the first June in which accumulation was greater than ablation. In comparison - now that the dry season is underway - lowering during July amounted to ~16cm.

Also in June 2012, the daily maximum of incoming solar radiation was on average lower than in any month of the past 10 years. June irradiance is always relatively low of course, being at 3°S latitude, yet the new record this year is likely due to both greater cloud cover than normal - and to snow on the radiometer dome.