Global warming will soon leave the Bavarian Alps with just one shrinking glacier, regional authorities warned in their first glacier report.
Bavarian state Environment Minister Marcel Huber said that although there were currently five glaciers, these included three small ones which were less than 7.5 hectares in area.
Yet within the coming two or three decades, there would probably be just one left – the most famous, the Höllentalferner Glacier on the north side of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain.
Even it will be considerably smaller as time wears on and temperatures rise, the report warned. Currently the glacier measures around 30 hectares when the northern and southern parts are counted together – about the area of 30 football fields.
The total area of Bavaria covered by glaciers adds up to 0.7 square kilometres, said Huber as he launched the report – yet around 200 years ago, they covered four square kilometres.
The Höllentalferner is protected from sunshine by high cliffs, leading experts to expect it to be the longest-lasting one in the region. Huber also warned Alpine temperatures were rising twice as fast as the global average.
By the year 2100 the report suggested that average Alpine temperatures would be between three and six degrees higher than now.
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