Agence France-PresseApril 30, 2021 14:48:44 IST
German glaciers are melting faster than feared, and the country could lose its last ice caps in 10 years, an alarming report said Thursday. “The days of glaciers in Bavaria are numbered. And even earlier than expected,” said Thorsten Glauber, the environment minister for the southern region, who lives in the German ice-covered Alps. “The last glacier in the Bavarian Alps may be gone in ten years.” Scientists had previously estimated that the glaciers were until the middle of the century.
But melting has accelerated dramatically in recent years.
The five German glaciers in the Zugspitze region and the Berchtesgaden Alps have lost about two-thirds of their volume in the last decade. Their surface area has also shrunk by a third – equivalent to about 36 football pitches.
In announcing a strong warning about global warming, Glauber stressed that glaciers “are not just a monument of Earth’s history in the form of snow and ice.”
“They are thermometers for our climate,” he added.
A global study released on Wednesday found that nearly all of the world’s glaciers are losing mass at an ever-increasing rate, more than a fifth of the world’s sea level rise this century.
An international team of scientists analyzing images taken by NASA’s satellite said that between 2000 and 2019, the world’s glaciers lost an average of 267 billion tons of ice a year – enough to immerse Switzerland in six meters of water a year.
The report came when German meteorologists said this April has been the coldest in four decades.
As elsewhere in Europe, wild weather has been recorded in Germany in recent years. After a winter in which temperatures fell well below frost in February, mercury rose to 25.9 degrees on April 1 before slipping more than 15 degrees for most of the rest of the month.
Environmentalists blame global warming for the changes and have urged governments to do more to stop the harmful trend.
According to the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries aim to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius and preferably closer to 1.5 degrees by 2050.
Climate activists won a significant victory against the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday because the Constitutional Court ruled the Berlin environmental plan inadequate.