ClimateWire interviews Mayewski about pioneering glaciologist

Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, spoke with ClimateWire for an article about glaciologist Claude Lorius. Over a half-century beginning in 1956 when Antarctica was a scientific mystery, Lorius assembled proof from the continent showing that humans are warming the planet by pumping out carbon at rates never before seen in Earth’s history, according to the article. His findings became the bedrock of scientific knowledge about climate change, the article states. “He went out on a limb a lot more than people have to now,” said Mayewski, who trained with Lorius in France in the 1980s. “Now, it is accepted the sort of things he did are important. You don’t have to go to Antarctica for 12 or 16 months, you don’t have to build a laboratory and develop a new technique in order to make this big breakthrough.” Lorius was elegant in speech and looks and had a commanding presence, Mayewski recalled. In 1974, Lorius helped set up a drilling program with the Soviets and Americans at Vostok Station, and in 1984, he went there and brought back samples to France, the article states. “[The Vostok core] stands to this day as the most important record demonstrating the relationship between temperature and greenhouse gases,” Mayewski said. Scientific American published the article.