He is a German glaciologist; he loves ice and its many shapes and qualities. He knows the ice cap is melting and continues to mourn the slow death of a glacier he began to monitor while a student.
I wonder what ice cap that is. Certainly not the one at the Antarctic where he serves as a tour guide (NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses). Oh, well. It is fiction. And it was first published five years ago. And it sounds interesting.