Thursday, November 12, 2020

Seasonal change

Snowcover within the Kibo caldera may have reached an annual minima last week. The two-image Sentinel-2 timelapse above shows the same area, five days apart.

The mostly cloud-free image on 4 November depicts the largest extent of snowfree area for calendar year 2020. Nonetheless, note the extensive snowcovered area east of the Northern Icefield and north of Reusch Crater; this was evidently an area of higher accumulation during the previous wet seasons. South of Reusch Crater, white areas within the caldera are all patches of snow - with the exception of one remaining fragment of Furtwängler Glacier, the east-west oriented body just south of the extensive snowfree area. On the caldera's south side, snowcover blankets the south-southwest facing slope and delineates the rim, closely paralleling the trail from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak. Encompassed within this area are the upper fragments of Kersten and Deckens Glaciers, with less-continuous snow around the Rebmann Glacier. Below the upper south-side glaciers is a steep, 100-150 m band without snow, then patchy snow and the snowcovered lower fragments of the Kersten and Deckens Glaciers.

Snow blankets the entire upper portion of the mountain on 9 November, as visible in the second image (despite a thin cloud veil). This snowfall event is "right on schedule" in terms of the precipitation climatology for high elevations of Kilimanjaro. This would be a fascinating time to be up there, for a survey of snow depth and spatial variability...

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