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Tourism is now a major part of the local economy. Ten thousand visitors climb the mountain every year, employing local people as porters and guides. The snow and ice are part of what attracts the tourists, some of whom come as a “last chance” opportunity, believing that the glaciers will soon disappear. Scientific estimates of that date vary, and some believe the glaciers on the side slopes may survive. If the glaciers do disappear, seasonal snow will still whiten the peak, but perhaps not in the dry seasons when most tourists come. In the end, on this mountain both science and economics are always drawn back, as if by some powerful cultural gravity, to the famous white landscape on its peak.


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May 29, 2018, Sentinel-2B — Snow on top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania


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