Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist who has devoted his life to collecting and analyzing ice cores from the world's highest mountains, has been named to receive a National Medal of Science
from the White House. A reluctant mountaineer, Thompson has almost certainly logged more time in what alpinists the "death zone" -- that is, elevations above 18,000 feet -- than any man alive. Some of his ice cores, which are kept in refrigerated storage at his lab at Ohio State, date back 750,000 years. His work, much of which he undertook with his wife and colleague, the geographer Ellen Mosley Thompson, shows that the last half-century has been warmer than any period in recorded history. In a release, Thompson, who initially set out to become a coal geologist, says,
The loss of our glaciers is the most visible evidence of global warming we have. They store the history of many of the climate's most crucial variables that affect the earth’s systems, and their loss is easily apparent to anyone who might take notice.
We need to remember that glaciers have no political agenda.
Author and scientist Mark Bowen wrote an excellent book about Thompson and his work called "Thin Ice
." It was published in 2005.