World renowned French polar explorer passed away | Polarjournal
Claude Lorius was one of the most famous French polar explorers (here in Antarctica in 2008) and, thanks to a glass of whisky with ice, came up with the idea of using glass bubbles in ice to study atmospheric gases from times past. In doing so, he laid an important foundation for today’s climate research. Image: Claude Lorius via Wikicommons

The well-known and highly decorated French polar explorer Claude Lorius is dead. The glaciologist, who inspired generations of glaciologists and climate scientists for decades, died at 91 last Tuesday in Burgundy.

Since the 1950s, Claude Lorius had left his mark on French polar research like no other French researcher in recent polar history. His wintering in 1957-58 in the Terre Adélie area is legendary. Even one of his greatest discoveries, the fact that gas bubbles in ancient ice can be studied to determine the atmospheric gases of past climates, is a fabulous story in which a glass of whiskey plays a significant role.

During his long career, Claude Lorius has been awarded numerous honors and prizes, including being named a Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honor (2020) and the first Blue Planet Prize in 2008. An asteroid discovered in 1998 was also named after him this year.

At the request of his family and the French Polar Institute IPEV, news of his passing was delayed. We will publish a detailed report on his life early next week.

Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal

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