Kilimanjaro is not a thermometer
Letter to NY Times (published March 1, 2001)
Before putting pressure on the White House to act ("A Global Warning to Mr. Bush," Feb 26 editorial), shouldn't we be asking whether global warming is really happening? The Kilimanjaro ice cap is not a thermometer. It may well be melting, but this is simply a delayed consequence of a natural climate warming during the early part of the 20th century. Moreover, it will continue to melt as long as the climate doesn't return to the temperatures of the Little Ice Age of past centuries.
The National Academy of Sciences published a report* last year that defines
the geographic regions of warming and cooling during the last 20 years. Surface
measurements of East Africa show no warming trend (Fig. 6.2, p. 34). Weather
satellites show a pronounced cooling trend of the atmosphere there (Fig. 7.1,
p.43). No one has questioned these data.
*National Research Council. "Reconciling Observations of Global Temperature Change." National Academy Press. Washington, DC. January 2000
Professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences
University of Virginia, USA