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Germany

Less Ice on Germany's Highest Peak

The ice cap on Germany's highest mountain peak, the Zugspitze, will have melted away within two decades due to global warning, Bavaria's state environment minister said Thursday. Werner Schnappauf said the beloved landmark would be only a shadow of itself without its white frosty cover, and said the development was a grim harbinger of things to come. "It has gotten up to two degrees (Celsius) warmer on average in the entire Alpine region in the last 70 years," he said, adding that on a hot day the Schneeferner -- one of two glaciers on Zugspitze's massif -- lost up to 35 million liters (nine million gallons) of water. "That is the daily water use of Augsburg," a city of 276,000. Schnappauf made the comments on a visit to the Zugspitze, elevation 2,962 meters (9,718 feet). He said that winter sports companies would have to adapt to the changes as well, noting that in 2025 there would be about 25 fewer days per year when the temperature fell below the freezing point. That would mean that it would be too warm for Alpine ski resorts to use snowmakers on such days, leading to a serious economic crunch for the tourism-dependent region.

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