Global warming specialist disappears in Greenland accident

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A prominent American-Swiss scientist, the specialist in global warming Konrad Steffen, who disappeared this weekend in an accident on the ice cap in Greenland, has died, his institute announced on Wednesday.

“It’s a great loss,” lamented to AFP Christoph Hegg, deputy director of the WSL, the Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, which Konrad Steffen headed in Switzerland.

“He was very involved in the chapters of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, editor’s note) on ice and oceans. He was one of the best scientists in his field in the world, ”he said.

The 68-year-old researcher was fatally injured during a measurement campaign in Greenland, where he had been for five days, according to Hegg.

“We found evidence that the person fell into a crack in the ice cap,” Greenlandic police representative Brian Thomsen told the local daily Sermitsiaq.

The police intervened on Saturday near Ilulissat in southwest Greenland, a huge Danish autonomous territory, as soon as they were notified of the disappearance of this glaciology specialist.

The search was halted on Sunday without Mr. Steffen’s body being discovered.

The scientist was in a polar research camp, the “Swiss Camp”. The accident happened a hundred yards from the camp and it appears that a snow bridge collapsed under Mr Steffen’s footsteps, scientist Kathy Riklin wrote on Twitter.

In Greenland, Konrad Steffen, assisted by NASA and the American National Science Foundation, had been building a network of automatic weather stations since 1990.

At the time of his death, “he was doing maintenance on these stations, it is something that is done regularly,” Hegg told AFP.

During his annual expeditions, with his teams, he notably examined the Arctic snowpack.

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