Elizabeth K. Thomas

Assistant Professor

PhD, Geological Sciences, Brown University – 2014

437 Cooke Hall
(716) 645-4869


Stable isotope and organic geochemistry, paleoclimatology, environmental change in the Arctic and Asia

Research Interests

I use organic geochemical and stable isotopic proxies from marine, lake, and loess sediments to reconstruct past precipitation, temperature, and ecological changes during the Pleistocene and Holocene. I also use climate models to understand the mechanisms that cause such changes, with the goal of better understanding modern global change.

Recent Publications

Thomas EK, Huang Y, Clemens SC, Colman SM, Morrill C, Wegener P, and Zhao J (2016), Changes in dominant moisture sources and the consequences for hydroclimate on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau during the past 32 kyr, Quaternary Science Reviews, 131, 157-167,doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.11.003.

Gao L, Guimond J, Thomas E, and Huang Y (2015), Major trends in leaf wax abundance, δH and δC values along leaf venation in five species of C plants: Physiological and geochemical implications, Organic Geochemistry, 78, 144-152,doi:10.1016/j.orggeochem.2014.11.005.

Thomas EK, Huang Y, Morrill C, Zhao J, Wegener P, Clemens S, Colman S, Gao L (2014) Abundant C4 plants on the Tibetan Plateau during the late glacial and early Holocene. Quaternary Science Reviews 87: 24-33. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.12.014

Håkansson L, Briner JP, Andresen CS, Thomas EK, Bennike O (2014). Slow retreat of a land based sector of the West Greenland Ice Sheet during the Holocene Thermal Maximum: evidence from threshold lakes at Paakitsoq. Quaternary Science Reviews 98: 74-83.doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.05.016.

Thomas EK, McGrane S, Briner JP, Huang Y (2012) Leaf wax hydrogen isotope and varve thickness climate proxies from arctic proglacial lake sediments. Journal of Paleolimnology 48:193-207. doi:10.1007/s10933-012-9584-7 (data at NCDC)

Briner JP, Young NE, Thomas EK, Stewart HAM, Losee S, Truex S (2011) Varve and radiocarbon dating support the rapid advance of Jakobshavn Isbræ during the Little Ice Age. Quaternary Science Reviews 30: 2476-2486. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.05.017

Thomas EK, Briner JP, Axford Y, Francis D, Miller GH, Walker IR (2011). A 2000-year-long multi-proxy lacustrine record from eastern Baffin Island, Arctic Canada reveals first millennium AD cold period. Quaternary Research, 75: 491-500. doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2011.03.003 (data at NCDC)

Thomas EK, Szymanski JS, Briner JP (2010) Holocene alpine glaciation inferred from lacustrine sediments on northeastern Baffin Island, Arctic Canada. Journal of Quaternary Science, 25: 146-161. doi:10.1002/jqs.1286

Axford Y, Briner JP, Cooke C, Francis D, Michelutti N, Miller G, Smol J, Thomas EK, Wilson C, Wolfe AP (2009) Recent changes in a remote Arctic lake are unique within the past 200,000 years. PNAS, 106: 18443-18446. doi:10.1073/pnas.0907094106

Kaufman DS, Schneider DP, McKay NP, Ammann CM, Bradley RS, Briffa KR, Miller GH, Otto-Bliesner BL, Overpeck JT, Vinther BM, Arctic Lakes 2k Project Members (Abbott M, Axford Y, Bird B, Birks HJB, Bjune AE, Briner J, Cook T, Chipman M, Francus P, Gajewski K, Geirsdóttir Á, Hu FS, Kutchko B, Lamoureux S, Loso M, MacDonald G, Peros M, Porinchu D, Schiff C, Seppä H, Thomas EK) (2009) Recent warming reverses long-term Arctic cooling. Science, 325: 1236-1239. doi:10.1126/science.1173983

Thomas EK, Briner JP (2009) Climate of the past millennium inferred from varved proglacial lake sediments on northeast Baffin Island, Arctic Canada. Journal of Paleolimnology, 41: 209-224. doi:10.1007/s10933-008-9258-7 (data at NCDC)

Thomas EK, Axford Y, Briner JP (2008) Rapid 20th century environmental change on northeastern Baffin Island, Arctic Canada inferred from a multi-proxy lacustrine record. Journal of Paleolimnology, 40: 507-517. doi:10.1007/s10933-007-9178-y (data at NCDC)