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UMaine Professor Dies During Research In Antartica

October 25
6:00 AM 2016

Professor Gordon Hamilton, from the School of Earth and Climate Sciences was a leading researcher with the Climate Change Institute. His main focus is the behaviour of modern ice sheets and their role in the climate system. Researching on understanding ice sheet mass balance - how much mass is coming in and going out, and the processes responsible - and involved satellite remote sensing. His current research projects included ice-ocean interaction in Greenland and ice shelf stability in Antarctica.

The 50-year old glaciologist died Saturday in an accident when the snowmobile he was riding hit a fissure and he fell 100 feet.

"The University of Maine has lost one of its leading scientists, Gordon's glaciology research around the world - from Antarctica to Greenland - was second to none. He leaves a legacy as an outstanding scientist, and a caring mentor and well-known teacher to undergraduate and graduate students. He was an engaged, gregarious and beloved member of the UMaine and Orono communities that now mourn his loss. Our heart-felt thoughts and prayers go to his wife, Fiona, and their two children, Martin and Calum, and his friends and colleagues around the world," says UMaine President Susan J. Hunter.

Before to coming to Maine, he was at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State University, and the Norwegian Polar Institute in Oslo. Hamilton joined University of Maine's Climate Change Institute in 2000 as an assistant research professor. He also taught undergraduate and graduate courses and worked with a statewide initiative on science, technology, engineering and math programs for high school students.

In October 23, Climate Change Institute Director Paul Mayewski released a statement saying that the entire glaciology community held Hamilton in the absolute highest esteem.

"His experience and devotion to understanding glacier dynamics and their role in our evolving climate system, notably with respect to sea level rise, were Gordon's scientific passions. He led many polar expeditions in the course of his research, trained many graduate students, lectured far and wide, and was a well-known science spokesman in many media outlets," Mayewski said in the statement.

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