Honorary Member Charles Fierz

Charles Fierz has been an invaluable and dedicated supporter of the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) for 16 years. He has served as head of division for snow for two terms (2007-2011 and 2019-2023) and led the organisation as president-elect/president/immediate past president (2013-2019).

Charles is a snow scientist and is team leader at WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Research Unit Snow and Permafrost, Davos, Switzerland. He is interested in all facets of snow, from its formation in the atmosphere to its deposition on the surface. He has been involved in the development, verification, and comparison of the open-source snow-cover model SNOWPACK. He identified the need for a revised snow classification, organised a working group to undertake this and was lead author for the glossary ‘The International Classification for Seasonal Snow on the Ground’ prepared by the ICSI-UCCS-IACS Working Group on Snow Classification and published in 2009 by UNESCO.

Charles’ international work involvement also includes the development of Global Cryosphere Watch GCW since 2011, a crosscutting activity area of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). Over the past seven years, he has been heavily involved in establishing best practices guides for cryospheric measurements, including terminology and data management. The guides for the measurement of snow and the measurement of glaciers variables have already been approved by WMO. The guide for permafrost is close to completion, while the guide for sea ice is in its early stages. These guides have been made possible thanks to the work that Charles has put into it by making technical and scientific contributions, joining countless meetings, building consensus among contributing experts, commenting on drafts, supporting, and helping team authors with his broad knowledge and eye for details.

Charles warrants appointment as an Honorary Member of IACS for his tireless efforts for IACS and IUGG. He was instrumental in establishing and hosting the early version of the IACS website and is still involved in updating the current website. His efforts include mentoring and bringing in institutional memory for his two successors as IACS president so far and have been invaluable. He also hosted the IACS bank account in Switzerland for the 8-year term when Andrew Mackintosh was Secretary General (SG), and he provided very strong scientific and administrative oversight of Secretary General duties, assisting Andrew into his role and also Richard Essery, the current SG.

Charles’ combined efforts over a very long period for IACS have been remarkable, and he is one of just a few individuals who IACS owes much during its formative years. IACS is proud to welcome Charles as an Honorary Member for everything he has done to promote cryospheric sciences and best practices both within and outside IACS.

July 2023