Beloved Swiss and American climate scientist Konrad “Koni” Steffen passed away while studying in Greenland. He’s 68 years old.

Swiss media said Steffen fell into a deep water-filled abyss, after ice and snow gave way to him while he was working near a weather station. Rescue attempts were unsuccessful and his body was not found.

Jason Box, an ice climatologist at the Danish and Greenland Geological Survey, who was with Steffen before his death, said he believes his friend is “still 8 meters underwater”, according to CBS News.

“Personally, Koni is like a father,” Box told CBS. “Great man. Great loss. Tears are falling all over the world.”

Steffen served as scientific director at the Swiss Polar Institute and director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Landscape, Snow and Forest (WSL).

“In Konrad Steffen, we not only lost our director of a research institute, but we also lost a dedicated scientist and above all a unique, generous friend and friend,” WSL said. know in a statement announcing the death of Steffen. “We’ll all miss him.”

With nearly 15,000 academic citations of his name, Steffen has been conducting research on climate change for over 40 years – particularly in the Arctic and Antarctic, according to the council of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

He has also taught for many years as a professor at the University of Boulder, Colorado and the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and in Lausanne.

Those who mourned the loss shared their memories of Steffen on social media.

Former US Vice President and environmentalist Al Gore wrote: “Koni’s famous work as a banker has contributed to a deeper understanding of the world about the climate crisis.

“He has had a positive influence on our campus and countless students, I am so thankful that we have him here!” Writes SarahDawn Haynes, an Ability Mapper at the University of Colorado’s Environmental Center. “#konradSteffen rest in honor.”

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