The dramatic ice caps of Bavaria's Alps are on the way out, scientists are warning, and the end may come sooner than expected, perhaps within ten years.
The last ten years have seen the five glaciers, all in the Garmisch-Partenkirche and Berchtesgaden area, lose a third of their surface and two-thirds of their volume.
Thorsten Glauber, Bavarian environment minister, issued a report warning that "The days of glaciers in Bavaria are numbered." Previous reports had suggested that the end would be by the end of the century.
Germany, of course, is not the only place the glaciers are disappearing; globally, a recent report indicated that over the past 20 years, the world's glaciers lost an average of 267 billion tonnes of ice each year, enough, one writer pointed out, to submerge Switzerland in six metres of water.
Image: Zugspitze Glacier