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Who was climate science pioneer Claude Lorius, who dies at 91?

Who was climate science pioneer Claude Lorius, who dies at 91?

Claude Lorius, a renowned glaciologist known for his groundbreaking discoveries on the impact of human activity on global warming in Antarctica in the 1980s, has passed away at the age of 91.

According to Jerome Chappellaz, a former colleague of Lorius and a palaeoclimatologist, he died on Tuesday morning in the French region of Burgundy. The French publisher Arthaud, which published Lorius’ memoirs, also confirmed his death in a statement.

Lorius was remembered by French explorer Jean-Louis Etienne, who called him a “great scientist” and “of the finest calibre of polar expedition adventurers”.

Claude Lorius was a French glaciologist whose work in Antarctica helped prove humanity’s role in global warming. His research and discoveries have played a crucial role in understanding the Earth’s climate system, and his legacy continues to inspire climate scientists around the world.

Who was Claude Lorius?

Claude Lorius was born on September 6, 1932, in Besançon, France. As a child, he was fascinated by nature and the natural world, especially the mountains. This fascination with the natural world led him to pursue a career in glaciology, the study of glaciers and ice sheets.

Lorius received his degree in geology from the University of Besançon in 1955. That same year, he responded to an obscure advert to participate in a mission for the International Geophysical Year (IGY), a global research program dedicated to revealing the icy continent’s mysteries. This was Lorius’s first experience working in Antarctica, and it would shape his career and legacy.

In 1956, Lorius returned to Antarctica as part of the French Antarctic Expedition, led by renowned explorer Paul-Emile Victor. This expedition sparked Lorius’s interest in polar research, and he would spend much of his career studying the continent’s climate and environment.

Lorius went on to earn his Ph.D. in oceanography and climatology from the University of Paris in 1963, with a thesis on the climate of Antarctica. This research would become the foundation of his career, as he continued to study Antarctica’s climate and the effects of climate change on the continent.

Discoveries in Antarctica

In the early 1980s, Lorius made a groundbreaking discovery that would change the course of climate change research. By drilling deep into the ice in Antarctica, Lorius and his team were able to extract ice cores that contained a record of the Earth’s climate dating back more than 400,000 years.

The ice cores provided valuable data on the Earth’s temperature, atmosphere, and greenhouse gas concentrations over hundreds of thousands of years.

This data showed that the Earth’s climate had gone through cycles of warming and cooling, but that the current warming trend was unprecedented and caused by human activity.

Lorius and his team’s research helped prove the link between human activity and global warming, providing crucial evidence for climate change activists and policymakers around the world.

Legacy and contributions to Climate Change research

Claude Lorius’s work in Antarctica and contributions to climate change research have been recognized around the world. He was awarded numerous honours and awards, including the Blue Planet Prize, which is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize for the Environment.”

Lorius was also a prolific author and speaker, sharing his knowledge and expertise with the world through books, articles, and public appearances. His memoir, “Antarctica: A Laboratory on the Ice,” provides a detailed account of his life and work in Antarctica, and is considered a seminal work in the field of polar research.

In addition to his scientific contributions, Lorius was also an inspiration to many in the scientific community. His passion for exploration, dedication to scientific inquiry, and unwavering commitment to the environment have inspired generations of climate scientists and activists.

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