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History, Planets

The Schneeferner:Germany’s highest and largest glacier.

Nördlicher Schneeferner from NE (Jubiläumsgrat)

Image via Wikipedia

The Schneeferner in the Bavarian Alps is Germany’s highest and largest glacier.located on the Zugspitzplatt, a plateau south of the country’s highest peak, the Zugspitze, that descends from west to east and forms the head of the Reintal valley. The meltwaters from the glacier seep away into the karstified plateau and surface again in the Reintal, where they feed the River Partnach. The Schneeferner is one of the northernmost glaciers in the Alps.

In the 19th century, towards the end of the Little Ice Age, a large glacier, the Plattachferner, covered almost the entire Zugspitzplatt between the Jubiläumsgrat arête and the Plattspitzen peaks. It covered an area of about 300 hectares.Since 1980 the glaciers on the Zugspitzplatt have again been on the retreat. In 2006 the two remaining parts of the glacier still covered an area of 39 hectares .

In August 2003 the melting of the glacier produced 35,000 m3 (1,200,000 cu ft) of water daily, roughly one tenth of the average water consumption of the Munich region

About 80 centimetres (31 in) of ice melted has melted annually, on average.If this rate of melting continues, the glaciers on the Zugspitze will disappear between 2015 and 2030, although a few small remnants of ice may survive longer.

Today, the Northern Schneeferner is a winter sports area. Since 1955, five ski lifts have been built on the ice sheet, making it the only German glacier skiing area. At one time summer skiing was also possible here. In order to better support winter sports, the natural evolution of the glacier has been counteracted by transporting snow from surrounding areas. As a result, since 1990 the ice thickness has occasionally increase

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