Dr Rick Thomas BSc (hons), PhD

Dr Rick Thomas

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Research Fellow

Contact details

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

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.


BsC (hons) Environmental Geoscience
PhD Atmospheric Science


After gaining his Bachelor’s degree from Edinburgh University Dr Rick Thomas worked for two years in the contaminated land/air quality section of an environmental consultancy. His PhD was in the use of novel instrumentation (Aerosol mass spectrometer/ Wet Chemistry techniques) to measure land-atmosphere exchange of chemically speciated particles. Rick then spent several years at Scripps Institution of Oceanography working for professor Ramanathan before joining Rob MacKenzie’s group at the University Birmingham.


Thomas RM, Lehmann K, Nguyen H,  Jackson DL, Wolfe D, and Ramanathan V. (2012). Measurement of turbulent water vapor fluxes using a lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle system. Atmos. Meas. Tech., 5, 243-257, 2012 www.atmos-meas-tech.net/5/243/2012/ doi:10.5194/amt-5-243-2012

Twigg MM, House E, Thomas RM, Whitehead J, Phillips GJ, Famulari D, Fowler D, Gallagher MW, Cape JN, Sutton MA, Nemitz E. (2011). Surface/atmosphere exchange and chemical interactions of reactive nitrogen compounds above a manured grassland. Agricultural and Forest Meteorolgy, 151 (12). 1488-1503. 10.1016/j.agrformet.2011.06.005

Famulari D, Nemitz E, Di Marco C, Phillips GJ, Thomas RM, House E, Fowler D. (2010). Eddy-covariance measurements of nitrous oxide fluxes above a city, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 150, 6, 786-793, 2010 DOI:10.1016/j.agrformet.2009.08.003. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8W-4X66C9J-2/2/23ceb4fce69cf76a0a523ea7383e7bcd)

Thomas RM, Trebs I, Otjes R, Jongejan PAC, ten Brink H, Phillips G, Kortner M, Meixner FX and Nemitz E. (2009) An Automated Analyzer to Measure Surface-Atmosphere Exchange Fluxes of Water Soluble Inorganic Aerosol Compounds and Reactive Trace Gases , Envi. Sci. Tecnol., 43, 5, 1412–1418

Demmers, T.; Saponja, A.; Nemitz, Eiko; Thomas, Rick; Phillips, Gavin; Di Marco, Chiara; McDonald, Alan; Harris, Jennifer; Bennett, S.; Stagg, S.; Bowry, A.; Emery, J.. 2009 Characterising poultry dust properties, assessing the human health implications, quantifying emission levels and assessing the potential for abatement. Defra, 99pp. (CEH Project Number: C03209)

Martin CL, Longley ID, Dorsey JR, Thomas RM, Gallagher MW, and Nemitz E. (2009). Ultrafine particle fluxes above four major European cities, Atmospheric Environment, 43(5), 4714-4721, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.10.009