Elizabeth K. Thomas

PhD (she/her/hers)

Elizabeth K. Thomas.

Elizabeth K. Thomas

PhD (she/her/hers)

Elizabeth K. Thomas

PhD (she/her/hers)


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

Contact Information

437 Cooke Hall

Phone: (716) 645-4329



PhD, Geological Sciences, Brown University – 2014

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.

Course Offerings

  • GLY102 Climate Change
  • GLY 308 Introduction to Geochemistry
  • GLY 312 Surface Processes and Hydrology
  • GLY 417/517 Forensic Stable Isotopes
  • GLY 453/553 Quaternary Dating and Paleoclimate
  • GLY 499 – Independent Study
  • GLY 599 – Supervised Teaching
  • GLY 633 – Graduate Research
  • GLY 700 – Thesis Guidance

Current Students

Please see Dr. Thomas’ research website for a list of current students.

Recent Publications

Thomas EK, Clemens SC, Sun Y, Huang Y, Prell WL, Chen G, Liu Z, Loomis S (2017). Mid-latitude land surface temperature impacts the timing and structure of glacial maxima. Geophysical Research Letters 2016GL071882. doi:10.1002/2016GL071882

Schweinsberg AD, Briner JP, Miller GH, Bennike O, Thomas EK (2017). Local glaciation in West Greenland linked to North Atlantic Ocean circulation during the Holocene. Geology G38114.1. doi:10.1130/G38114.1

Thomas EK, Clemens S, Sun Y, Prell W, Huang Y, Gao L, Loomis S, Chen G, Liu Z (2016) Heterodynes dominate precipitation isotopes in the East Asian monsoon region, reflecting interaction of multiple climate factors. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 455: 196–206. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.09.044

Thomas EK, Briner JP, Ryan-Henry JJ, Huang Y (2016) A major increase in winter snowfall during the middle Holocene on western Greenland caused by reduced sea ice in Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea. Geophysical Research Letters 43: 2016GL068513. doi:10.1002/2016GL068513

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, δ2H and δ13C values along leaf venation in five species of C3 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)