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Mr David Thornton

Experimental Scientist

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David is part of a team conducting research into the global biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases, ozone depleting gases and related species. A major focus of the work is to establish atmospheric distributions of these gases and some of their isotopes by analysing air samples obtained from a global network of sampling stations and then using the measurements in interpretation and reporting activities, with an emphasis on experimental work.

David's position also involves the extraction and analysis of greenhouse gases from polar ice-cores in the CSIRO ICELAB. Natural changes in atmospheric trace gas composition from past centuries to millennia are best determined from air enclosed in ice sheets. Air extracted from the open pores in firn and bubbles in ice is measured to derive past concentrations and isotopic ratios of long lived trace gases, and can be used to constrain models and improve their ability to predict future changes under scenarios of anthropogenic emissions and climate change. The atmospheric archive provided by ice cores is a key data source for understanding the carbon cycle. Projects that extend and interpret this archive are an important contributor to further extending our knowledge in this field.

Academic Qualifications

  • 2008

    University of Canterbury