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Dr. Liz Thomas - Profile

photo of Dr. Liz Thomas Ice Core Analytical Scientist

+44 (0)1223 221658

British Antarctic Survey
Madingley Road, High Cross
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0ET United Kingdom


I am a palaeoclimatologist interested in climate variability in the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica over the past 100-2000 years. I use a range of glaciochemical and isotope data to investigate changes in past surface temperature, precipitation and atmospheric circulation.

My current focus is reconstructing past snow accumulation in the southern Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica and using ice core proxies to reconstruct sea ice conditions in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas. I am co-leader of the PAGES Antarctica2k working groups looking at Past snow accumulation rate reconstruction and Reconstruction of sea ice using both ice cores and marine coastal records. Antarctica2K

I am the head of the ice core group within the Ice Dynamics and Palaeoclimate programme at BAS. We have drilled several Antarctic ice cores and been involved in international collaborations in both Antarctica and Greenland. Our team of ice core analytical chemists produce high resolution chemical records using a range of techniques including ion chromatography (IC), continuous flow analysis (CFA), ICP-MS and fast ion chromatography (FIC). We also produce high resolution stable isotope records both in house and in collaboration with the National Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory.

I am also principle investigator on a NERC research grant “Reconstructing wind strength and atmospheric circulation in West Antarctica over the past 300 years”. We are developing a novel proxy for past wind conditions based on diatoms preserved in ice cores and combining this with known proxies for long-range atmospheric circulation.

Field projects:

2010/11 - Project leader, Ellsworth Land, West Antarctica

2010       - Field chemist (FIC/CFA), NEEM Greenland

2006/07 - Project leader, Gomez Antarctic Peninsula (73°S, 70°W)

2004/05 - Field scientist Berkner Island (79°S,45°W)


PhD: High-resolution analysis of rapid climate change from Greenland ice cores
British Antarctic Survey and Open University (2004-2006)

Combined Honours: Chemistry with Oceanography
University of Southampton (1998-2001)