Dr Rick Thomas BSc (hons), PhD

Dr Rick Thomas

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Research Fellow

Contact details

Address
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Dr Rick Thomas is a measurement scientist specializing in the use of novel instrumentation for climate and air quality research. At Scripps Institution of Oceanography, he developed a turbulent flux measurement package to resolve ambient 3D wind vectors from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and successfully used it alongside aerosol, cloud and water probes to investigate aerosol-cloud interactions. He has also developed a gas sampling device for a UAV helicopter platform used to sample methane from 9,000ft above the southern Atlantic Ocean. He is currently developing and testing lightweight sensors to be comfortably carried by pigeons to help understand air pollution and heat transport through cities. Rick also is heavily involved with the scientific aspects of the world-class BIFoR FACE experiment studying carbon uptake of a mature woodland under elevated carbon dioxide conditions.

Qualifications

BsC (hons) Environmental Geoscience
PhD Atmospheric Science

Research

Rick's interests lie in the investigation atmospheric phenomena relating to climate change through the development and use of novel sensing equipment.  Rick has previously helped develop a turbulent flux measurement package to resolve ambient 3D wind vectors from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and then used it in several field campaigns alongside aerosol, cloud and water probes to investigate aerosol-cloud interactions. He is currently leading baselining measurements at the University Free Air Carbon Enrichment woodland site and also involved in a project to sample methane from 3km altitude in the tropics using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Hart, KM, Curioni, G, Blaen, P, Harper, NJ, Miles, P, Lewin, KF, Nagy, J, Bannister, EJ, Cai, XM, Thomas, RM, Krause, S, Tausz, M & MacKenzie, AR 2019, 'Characteristics of free air carbon dioxide enrichment of a northern temperate mature forest', Global Change Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14786

Thomas, R, Mackenzie, A, Reynolds, S, Sadler, J, Cropley, F, Bell, S, Dugdale, S, Chapman, L, Quinn, A & Cai, X 2018, 'Avian Sensor Packages for Meteorological Measurements', Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 99, no. 3, pp. 499-511. https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0181.1

Blaen, P, Khamis, K, Lloyd, CEM, Comer, S, Ciocca, F, Thomas, R, Mackenzie, A & Krause, S 2017, 'High-frequency monitoring of catchment nutrient exports reveals highly variable storm event responses and dynamic source zone activation', Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, vol. 122, no. 9, pp. 2265–2281. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JG003904

Brownlow, R, Lowry, D, Thomas, RM, Fisher, RE, France, JL, Cain, M, Richardson, TS, Greatwood, C, Freer, J, Pyle, JA, MacKenzie, AR & Nisbet, EG 2016, 'Methane mole fraction and δ13C above and below the trade wind inversion at Ascension Island in air sampled by aerial robotics', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 43, no. 22, pp. 11,893-11,902. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL071155

Thomas, R, Bender, F, Ramanathan , V, Praveen , PS, Pistone, K & Wilcox, E 2016, 'Black carbon solar absorption suppresses turbulence in the atmospheric boundary layer', National Academy of Sciences. Proceedings, vol. 113, no. 42, pp. 11794 – 11799. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1525746113

Pistone, K, Praveen , PS, Thomas, R, Ramanathan , V, Wilcox, E & Bender, F 2016, 'Observed correlations between aerosol and cloud properties in an Indian Ocean trade cumulus regime', Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 16, no. 8, pp. 5203. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-5203-2016

Norby, RJ, De Kauwe, MG, Domingues, TF, Duursma, RA, Ellsworth, DS, Goll, DS, Lapola, DM, Luus, KA, Mackenzie, AR, Medlyn, BE, Pavlick, R, Rammig, A, Smith, B, Thomas, R, Thonicke, K, Walker, AP, Yang, X & Zaehle, S 2016, 'Model-data synthesis for the next generation of forest free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiments', New Phytologist, vol. 209, no. 1, pp. 17-28. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.13593

Conference contribution

Sadler, J, Thomas, R, Cropley, F, MacKenzie, AR & Reynolds, J 2018, Assessment and deployment of bird-carried meteorological sensors for microclimate measurements in urban terrain. in Geophysical Research Abstracts (GRA). vol. 20, 16288, European Geosciences Union, European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018, Vienna, Austria, 8/04/18.

Thomas, R, Cropley, F, MacKenzie, AR, Reynolds, J, Sadler, J, Chapman, L, Quinn, A, Zhong, J & Cai, X 2018, From the shed to the skies: a journey of sensor development and deployment involving bicycles, drones and eagles. in Geophysical Research Abstracts. vol. 20, 16720, European Geosciences Union, European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018, Vienna, Austria, 8/04/18.

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