Our research group maintains automatic weather stations on Kersten glacier (KG), on Kilimanjaro and on the Lewis Glacier (LG) on Mt Kenya.
Kersten glacier descends the south flank of the summit of Kibo, and the weather station (5873m, 3°04’S, 37°21’E) is only 20m below the summit elevation in the uppermost reaches of the glacier. Lewis glacier lies below the summit of Mt Kenya in a cirque like location between the true summit and a secondary peak, and the weather station (4828m, 0°09’S, 37°18’E) is about 370m below the summit elevation.
The weather stations LG and KG are separated by 320 km horizontally and 1045 m vertically and the period of available overlapping data is 01 October 2010 – 19 July 2011. This is how the mean weather conditions at the two glaciers compare over this time period:
SW and LW refer to shortwave (solar) radiation and longwave (atmospheric) radiation respectively, and e stands for vapour pressure.
Kersten glacier is much colder and drier and a little bit windier than Lewis glacier. It also receives more solar radiation and less atmospheric radiation than Lewis glacier. Although these glaciers are quite close, their elevation difference means they exist in quite different climate conditions, which result in quite different energy exchanges at the surface of the glaciers.