Snow at Equator
Why does snow fall on Mount Kilimanjaro when it
is situated right on the equator?
Although Mount Kilimanjaro is situated very near
the equator, it has a peak elevation of 19,335.6 feet
(5895 meters). At this elevation, even near the equator,
the temperature rarely gets above freezing, so precipitation
normally falls as snow.
There are a couple of other volcanoes near Kilimanjaro that
also have snow on them, Meru, also in Tanzania (peak elevation of
15,000 ft, 4565 m), and Mt. Kenya (almost directly on the equator,
with a peak elevation of 17,058 ft, 5199 m) in Kenya. They are
part of a group of about 20 volcanoes in that part of Africa.
David R. Cook
Climate Research Section
Environmental Science Division
In addition, to latitude, altitude plays an important role in the
temperature of a particular location. All mountains that are
sufficiently high will be cold enough for snow to form.
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Update: June 2012