Germany’s glaciers could disappear within 15 years: expert

STORY: Location: Zugspitze, Germany

Germany’s five alpine glaciers have received a dire prognosis

They could all disappear within the next 15 years

(Christoph Mayer, Glaciologist, Bavarian Academy of Sciences in Munich)

“It is already the case that the majority of the glaciers in the Alps will disappear in the next 50 years… For German glaciers, the prognosis is much worse, for the smaller glaciers. So, in Berchtesgaden, it will be a few years, and for the two larger ones, the northern Schneeferner and the Höllentalferner, maybe another ten or 15 years, but then it will probably be over there too."

Source: Schneefernerhaus research station

Since records began in 1901, the snow depth on

Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain,

has never been so low in July

Low snowfall can accelerate the melting of ice

Mayer believes a Sahara dust cloud has been

carrying sand and dust across Europe

"Snow has a very light surface. This means that when the sun shines on the snow, most of the solar energy is reflected and is not used to melt the snow. But if there is dark dust or dark sand on this snow surface, then this sand absorbs. The sun's radiation and the heat that is generated is then transferred directly into the melting of the snow.”

Mayer says reducing greenhouse gas emissions

is the easiest way to slow glacier melting