NASA - Visible Earth

Book ID 871

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NASA - Visible Earth,
Extract Date: 1990-11-01

Kilimanjaro - The Shining Mountain

Shuttle photograph provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.

Ten years ago, glaciers covered most of the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The photograph above was taken in November 1990 by the Space Shuttle mission STS-38 crew (STS038-91-78).

By 2001, the glaciers had receded alarmingly, as shown by another photograph of Kilimanjaro taken by the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-97 on December 2, 2000

Mountain glaciers are sensitive indicators of climate change, and those at tropical latitudes are particularly responsive. Mid-latitude and tropical glaciers have significantly decreased in area and volume over the past century. At the February 2001 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), researchers reported dramatic changes in the volume of ice capping the Kibo summit of Kilimanjaro. An estimated 82 percent of the icecap that crowned the mountain when it was first thoroughly surveyed in 1912 is now gone, and the ice is thinning as well by as much as a meter in one area. According to some projections, if recession continues at the present rate, the majority of the glaciers on Kilimanjaro could vanish in the next 15 years.

Extract ID: 5031

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NASA - Visible Earth,
Extract Date: 2000-02-11

Mount Meru

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NIMA

Mount Meru is an active volcano located just 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of Mount Kilimanjaro. It reaches 4,566 meters (14,978 feet) in height but has lost much of its bulk due to an eastward volcanic blast sometime in its distant past, perhaps similar to the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in Washington State in 1980. Mount Meru most recently had a minor eruption about a century ago. The several small cones and craters seen in the vicinity probably reflect numerous episodes of volcanic activity. Mount Meru is the topographic centerpiece of Arusha National Park. Its fertile slopes rise above the surrounding savanna and support a forest that hosts diverse wildlife, including nearly 400 species of birds, and also monkeys and leopards.

Two visualization methods were combined to produce this image: shading and color coding of topographic height. The shade image was derived by computing topographic slope in the north-south direction. Northern slopes appear bright and southern slopes appear dark, as would be the case at noon at this latitude in June. Color coding is directly related to topographic height, with green at the lower elevations, rising through yellow, red, and magenta, to blue and white at the highest elevations.

Elevation data used in this image was acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on Feb. 11, 2000. SRTM used the same radar instrument that comprised the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) that flew twice on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1994. SRTM was designed to collect 3-D measurements of the Earth's surface. To collect the 3-D data, engineers added a 60-meter (approximately 200-foot) mast, installed additional C-band and X-band antennas, and improved tracking and navigation devices. The mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) of the U.S. Department of Defense and the German and Italian space agencies. It is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, D.C.

Extract ID: 5032

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NASA - Visible Earth,
Extract Date: 2000 02 21

Kilimanjaro

Portions of Kenya and Tanzania, Africa, can be seen in this image. The peak of Kilimanjaro is on the right; the mountain is flanked by the plains of Amboseli National Park to the north and the rugged Arusha National Park to the south and west.

This image was acquired by Landsat 7s Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) sensor on February 21, 2000. This is a false-color composite image made using shortwave infrared, infrared, and green wavelengths.

Extract ID: 5033

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NASA - Visible Earth,
Extract Date: 2000 12 02

Kilimanjaro

Shuttle photograph provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.

Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), the highest point in all Africa, was photographed by the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-97 on December 2, 2000 (STS097-701-17). Kilimanjaro (Kilima Njaro or "shining mountain" in Swahili) is capped by glaciers on its southern and southwestern flanks.

The glaciers and snow cap covered a far greater area ten years prior to the view above. Compare the photograph above with a photograph of Kilimanjaro taken in November 1990 by the Space Shuttle mission STS-38 crew.

Extract ID: 5034
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