· This feature is not available right now. Please try again later. The Schneeferner in the Bavarian Alps is Germany's highest and largest glacier. It is 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.
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It covered an area of about hectares 1. From about until the s the glacier lost roughly 23, square metres 5. Later, the so-called Eastern or Little Schneeferner below the summit of the Zugspitze broke away from the northern section and has since totally disappeared. Thereafter the glacier's retreat was less drastic and the remaining sections of the Northern Schneeferner tended to just shrink in thickness due to their location in a basin.
In the s and s, favourable conditions even led to a growth in the thickness of the glacier. Since the glaciers on the Zugspitzplatt have again been on the retreat. In the two remaining parts of the glacier still covered an area of 39 hectares 96 acres ; in addition there were a couple of smaller firn fields. Since , global warming has seen consistently above-average summer temperatures recorded on the Zugspitze. If this rate of melting continues, the glaciers on the Zugspitze will disappear between and ,  although a few small remnants of ice may survive longer.
With an area of 31 hectares 77 acres as at the Northern Schneeferner Nördlicher Schneeferner alone would be the largest glacier in Germany. To the east and south it is open; even the Schneefernerkopf mountain to the southwest offers very little shade. The glacier is mainly fed by precipitation falling directly onto its surface; it is also supplied with snow from avalanches that sweep down from the rocks of the Zugspitzeck and the Schneefernerkopf.
On the steep flanks of the Schneefernerkopf the flow rate can be several metres per year, but here the glacier has all but disappeared in recent years; its remnants are covered by gravel and very little accumulation takes place. Today, the Northern Schneeferner is a winter sports area. Since , 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.
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This page was last edited on 8 May , at From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.