Description: PBS America | Sky 534 | Virgin Media 243 | pbsamerica.co.uk
Hugh Thomson's film follows geologists Volker Lorenz and Kevin Docherty on a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro as they attempt to predict what the future holds for Africa's highest peak.
Just 200 miles south of the equator, Kilimanjaro is home to five distinct climatic zones. An ascent of the mountain passes through tropical rainforests at the base, giving way to moorlands and alpine meadows where rare giant high-altitude plants thrive, before the upper slopes reveal a bleak and wintry landscape of ice and snow. These glaciers are melting and are predicted to disappear completely within the next two decades. Whether this is a result of man-made climate change is uncertain, but the consequences are likely to be far-reaching. The glaciers play an integral role in nourishing the region's animal and plant life, as well as helping to fertilise the local crops. Naturalists Chris Buxton and Michael Ngatolowa investigate the source of Kilimanjaro's vital water supply. Lorenz and Docherty are also concerned that the melting process could result in landslides or even a devastating volcanic eruption.
Formed from three separate volcanoes, Kilimanjaro has remained dormant for over 100,000 years, but this does not guarantee that the mountain could not unleash its elemental force tomorrow.