In Memoriam: Sándor Szalai (1957 – 2022)

In Memoriam: Sándor Szalai  (1957 – 2022)


With immense sadness, we announce the untimely death of our dear colleague and friend, dr. Sándor Szalai, the long-lasting and dedicated Chairman of the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Climate Change. We were informed that Sándor died on June 7, 2022, at the age of 65, after a long illness.


Sándor Szalai was born on October 28, 1957 in Sopron. He obtained a diploma in meteorology and programming mathematics at Eötvös Loránd University in 1982, and in 1991 became a program design mathematician. In 1988 he defended his title of Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at the Hydrometeorological University of Leningrad, the topic of his dissertation was climate modeling.

He worked at the Hungarian Meteorological Service for almost 30 years in various climate and agrometeorological departments. Recognizing world-important climate research issues as a head of department, he set a task for his colleagues. In recognition of his work, he was elected a member of many domestic and international scientific committees, and received various awards (including the Literature Level Award, the Dénes Berényi Memorial Award, the Golden Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, and the Kabos Hegyfoky Memorial Medal). Education and vocational training followed his career throughout and in 2007 he obtained his habilitation at Szent István University. Until 2020, he was the head of the Department of Water Management at the SZIE Institute of Environmental Sciences as an associate professor.


Sándor was a brilliant and visionary leader who achieved national and international recognition for his work on climate change. He was passionate about work in the Carpathians and his dedication led to recognizing the urgency of climate change in the Carpathian region in early years of the Carpathian Convention implementation. Thanks for Sándor’s leadership, several projects on climate change in the region were successful implemented (e.g. CARPIVIA, CARPATCLIM, CarpatCC), and progressive documents, such as the Strategic Agenda on Adaptation to Climate Change in the Carpathian Region and the Long-term Vision 2030 towards combating climate change in the Carpathians were developed. Sándor’s work for the Carpathians will be always remember as it is paved in the introduction of the Article 12bis on climate change to the Carpathian Convention.


In his career as the Chairman of the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Climate Change he worked with passion, integrity and energy. By his death all the people who knew him will miss a highly intelligent, vibrant individual with a rare friendliness and charm of personality. Sándor was a genuinely warm and wonderful individual—one we will miss greatly.


The Secretariat offers its sincere condolences to his sister, his family and relatives.


Sandor’s  passing is a devastating loss for the Carpathian Convention, our sadness is lessened only slightly with the comforting thought that we had the privilege to know him. 

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