Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
Monday, August 10, 2020

Former CIRES Director Konrad Steffen Dies in Greenland Accident

on the Greenland Ice Sheet near Swiss Camp. CIRES photo

Konrad (Koni) Steffen always had a smile and a kind word to say – to another scientist, a staff member, to the graduate student of a colleague. And it seemed, at times, like he could do anything: brief Congress, ford a meltwater river on a snowmachine, mesmerize journalists with tales of his time on the ice.

With tremendous sadness today, we remember Koni, his espressos and cigarettes, his dedication to understanding climate change, and the vitality he brought to CIRES in his years as our director (2005-2012). Koni left CIRES to direct the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), which reports that Koni died Saturday, following an accident in Greenland:

Current CIRES Director Waleed Abdalati, who earned his Ph.D. under Konrad Steffen’s mentorship, said Steffen's death is a huge loss for the polar science community, as it is for his family. "I take some small comfort knowing he was where he wanted to be, doing what he wanted to be doing," Abdalati said.

WSL is accepting condolences here.