High temperatures coupled with low rainfall may result in the disappearance of Germany's five alpine glaciers within the next 50 years, famous glaciologist Christoph Mayer has warned.

This is not the first time experts have warned about melting glaciers. Europe's biggest glaciers could vanish if steps are not taken soon to reverse the damage already done.

"We have around 3,000 glaciers still in the Alps and there are a few very large glaciers in the Alps that will survive for a long time. But it is already the case that the majority of the glaciers in the Alps will disappear in the next 50 years," he told the BBC.

He also explained how the dust clouds from the Sahara are causing glaciers to melt faster than expected.

"Snow has a very light surface. This means that when the sun shines on the snow, most of the solar energy is reflected and is not used to melt the snow," Mayer explained.

"But if there is dark dust or dark sand on this snow surface, then this sand absorbs. The sun's radiation and the heat that is generated is then transferred directly into the melting of the snow," he added.

Mayer has warned that it is important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow down the melting of alpine glaciers and that it is the easiest way if we wish to really do something about it.

It is not just the alpine glaciers that are under threat due to global warming, but the glaciers in the Himalayas are also melting at an alarmingly rapid rate.

According to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, two-thirds of the area's glaciers will melt by the year 2100. By the said year, the glacier-covered peaks will reveal the rocks underneath and will create sharp changes in the weather and sea levels worldwide.

The report said that even if we manage to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius by the century's end, the world will still permanently say goodbye to one-third of the region's ice.

Germany glaciers
The Morteratsch glacier in the Bernina Range.Image/Daniel Schwen, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons