Frenchman Bernard Francou is research director in charge of the glacier-monitoring programme at the French Institute for Development Research where he has worked since 1998.
During this period, the glaciologist and mountaineer, who was born in 1948, has been responsible for uncovering — through deep ice-core drilling — some of the mysteries surrounding global warming.
In 2000, Rolex honoured Francou for his pioneering plan to extract and analyse an ice core from a glacier atop Chimborazo in the Ecuadorean Andes. His Award funded this expedition and gave credence, through publicity, to his work implementing a glacier observation network throughout the Central Andes. He also edited award-winning studies and, in 2007, published an authoritative book on glaciers and climate.
Francou’s main focus now is to assure the project’s sustainability. For that he must continue to educate the public and scientists on the viability of glacier-drilling projects, while involving UNESCO and other supporters.
Published in 2009