Claude Lorius was a renowned French glaciologist who was best known for his groundbreaking research on climate change and polar ice caps. His work has not only contributed significantly to our understanding of the Earth's climate history, but it also was what initially raised awareness about the urgent need to take action against global warming.
Born in Besançon, France in 1932, Lorius fell in love with science at an early age. He pursued his studies in physics and chemistry at the University of Besançon and later at the University of Paris. In 1956, he joined the French Antarctic Expedition and spent a winter in Antarctica. This experience sparked his passion for glaciology, and he repeatedly visited Antarctica for the next four decades.
Lorius is best known for his work on ice cores. He was one of the first scientists to realize analyzing air bubbles trapped in ice revealed valuable information regarding Earth's climate history. By drilling into ice sheets, he was able to extract ice cores that contained air bubbles that were millions of years old. Analysis of these air bubbles provided valuable insights into past climate patterns and helped to confirm the relationship between carbon dioxide levels and temperature.
In the 1980s, Lorius began to caution people about the effects of global warming on the Earth's climate. He warned that rising carbon dioxide levels were causing the Earth's temperature to rise and that this could have disastrous consequences for the planet. His research played a crucial role in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was signed in 1992.
Lorius received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the CNRS Gold Medal in 2002, the Blue Planet Prize in 2008, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation's Climate Change Award in 2016. He was also made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1984 and promoted to Officier in 2013.
Claude Lorius passed away on March 21st, 2023, at the age of 91. He leaves behind a legacy of groundbreaking research and passionate advocacy for the environment. His work will continue to inspire future generations of scientists and policymakers to take action to protect the Earth's climate and ensure a sustainable future for all.