On the same day when the German Federal Constitutional Court handed youth (many of those even aren't allowed to vote) a great victory in their climate change fight, on this Thursday the Bavarian government present the second Bavarian Glacier Report
Germany's glaciers can no longer be saved: in just ten years, even the last "eternal" ice could have melted. (Until now, experts had assumed that the death of the five remaining glaciers could last until 2050.)
The German glaciers are all located in Bavaria. They are the northern and southern Schneeferner and the Höllentalferner on the Zugspitz massif, as well as the Blaueis and Watzmann glaciers in the Berchtesgaden Alps. "Since 1850, the end of the Little Ice Age, we have lost about 88 per cent of the area of the glaciers and well over 90 per cent of the volume," explained glaciologist Christoph Mayer of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The ice surface has shrunk from more than four square kilometres to less than half a square kilometre now, he said.
"The remaining volume we now have on the glaciers in Bavaria is only about 50 per cent of what has melted in the last ten years," Mayer classified. The southern Schneeferner, of which only pitiful remnants exist today, was hit particularly hard. According to forecasts, it will have disappeared completely in a few years. The Blaueis and Watzmann glaciers are also unlikely to hold out much longer; even the still comparatively robust northern Schneeferner is losing around 250 litres of melt water every 30 seconds.
"The causes and interactions clearly lie in climate development," Mayer emphasised. It is not only the temperatures in the Alpine region, which have risen more than the average in Germany, that are causing problems for the glaciers. For example, humidity and the proportion of dark areas on and around the glacier also play a major role. "The Bavarian glaciers could still live well with the climate of 30 years ago. Unfortunately, they can no longer live with the radiation and temperature conditions of today," Mayer explained.
The melting of the glaciers has far-reaching consequences everywhere in the Alps, for example for the drinking water supply of the population. In addition, about 60 percent of all animal and plant species in Germany live in the Alpine region, as Glauber explained. Many of them are endangered by climate change. Warming also affects the permafrost: without this "glue" of the high mountains, rockfalls and mudslides increase.
(Source: see above link, additional material from dpa
via Die Zeit
[own translation for all])