Lonnie G. Thompson

Lonnie G. Thompson

Office Information

108 Scott Hall
Phone: (614) 292-6652
Fax: (614) 292-4697


Lonnie G. Thompson is a Distinguished University Professor in Ohio State's School of Earth Sciences and he is a Senior Research Scientist at the Byrd Polar Research Center, leading the Ice Core Paleoclimatology Research Group. He received a B.Sc. in geology at Marshall University, his M. Sc. in Geology and Ph.D. at Ohio State University.

Professor Thompson is one of the world's foremost authorities on paleoclimatology and glaciology. He has led more than 50 expeditions during the last 30 years, conducting ice-core drilling programs in the world's polar regions as well as in tropical and subtropical ice fields.

In 2007, Professor Thompson was awarded the Seligman Crystal, the highest professional award in Glaciology, and the National Medal of Science, the highest honor that the United States can give to an American scientist. He and his team were the subject of Thin Ice: Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains, a book by Mark Bowen published in late 2005.

Recently, Professor Thompson and his team developed lightweight solar-powered drilling equipment for the acquisition of histories from ice fields in the high Andes of Peru and on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The results of these histories, published in more than 200 articles, have contributed greatly toward the understanding of the Earth's past, present and future climate system.

Other Thompson-led expeditions have recovered the world's longest ice core from a mountain range (Alaska, 2002); the first tropic ice core (Peru, 1983); and cores containing the entire sequence of the Last Glacial Stage as well as cores dating over 750,000 years in age, the oldest outside the polar regions (Tibet, 1992).

Professor Thompson's research has resulted in major revisions in the field of paleoclimatology, in particular, by demonstrating how tropical regions have undergone significant climate variability, countering an earlier view that higher latitudes dominate climate change.

Professor Thompson has received numerous other honors and awards. In 2005, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and was awarded the John and Alice Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. He has been selected by Time magazine and CNN as one of "America's Best" in science and medicine. His research has been featured in hundreds of publications, including National Geographic and the National Geographic Adventure Magazines.

In 2006, Professor Thompson was elected member of the American Philosophical Society. He is Alumni member of Phi Beta Kappa and was chosen to receive the Roy Chapman Andrews Society 2007 Distinguished Explorer Award. He served as Contributing Author on Chapter 6: Paleoclimate IPCC AR4 WG, 2007 volume.

Selected Publications

L.G. Thompson, "Abrupt Climate Change: Past, Present and Future." The Journal of Land, Resources & Environmental Law, Vol. 27(1), Pgs. 101-107, 2007.

M. Grosjean, C.M. Santoro, L.G. Thompson, L. Nunez and V.G. Standen, "Mid-Holocene Climate and Culture Change in the South Central Andes." Climate Change and Cultural Dynamics, Eds. Sandweiss and Maasch, 2007.

L.G. Thompson, H.H. Brecher, E. Mosley-Thompson, B.G. Mar and D.R. Hardy, "Glacier Loss on Kilimanjaro Continues to Accelerate." Geophysical Research Letters, 2007.

K. Duan, L. G. Thompson, T. Yao, M. E. Davis and E. Mosley-Thompson, "A 1000 year History of Atmospheric Sulfate Concentrations in Southern Asia as Recorded by a Himalayan Ice Core." Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 34, L01810, 2007.

L.G. Thompson and M.E. Davis, "Ice Core Records, Africa." Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, Four Volume Set, (ISBN:0-444-51919-X), Pgs. 1220-1225, 2007.

L.G. Thompson and M.E. Davis, "Ice Core Records, South America." Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, Four Volume Set, (ISBN:0-444-51919-X), Pgs. 1233-1242, 2007.

L.G. Thompson, E. Mosley-Thompson, H. Brecher, M.E. Davis, B. Leon, D. Les, T.A. Mashiotta, P.-N. Lin, and K. Mountain, "Evidence of Abrupt Tropical Climate Change: Past and Present." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 103(28), Pgs. 10536-10543. 2006.

L.G. Thompson, E. Mosley-Thompson, H. Brecher, M. Davis, B. Leon, D. Les, P.-N. Lin, T. Mashiotta, K. Mountain, "Abrupt Tropical Climate Change: Past and Present." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 103(28), Pgs. 10536-10543, 2006.

L.G. Thompson, M. Davis, E. Mosley-Thompson, K. Henderson, P.-N. Lin, and T. Mashiotta, "Tropical Ice Core Records: Evidence for Asynchronous Glaciation on Milankovitch Timescales." Journal of Quaternary Science, Vol. 20(7-8), Pgs. 723-733, 2005.

L.G. Thompson, "High-Altitude, Mid and Low-Latitude Ice Core Records: Implications for Our Future." (L.D. Cecil, J.R. Green, and L.G Thompson (Eds.). Earth Paleoenvironments: Records Preserved in Mid-and Low-Latitude Glaciers. (Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research, Vol. 9), Kluwer, Dordrecht, Pgs. 3-15, 2004.

L.G. Thompson, E. Mosley-Thompson, M.E. Davis, K.A. Henderson, H.H. Brecher, V.S. Zagorodnov, T.A. Mashiotta, P-N. Lin, V.N. Mikhalenko, D.R. Hardy, and J. Beer, "Kilimanjaro Ice Core Records: Evidence of Holocene Climate Change in Tropical Africa." Science, Vol. 298, Pgs. 589-593, 2002.

L.G. Thompson, T. Yao, E. Mosley-Thompson, M.E. Davis, K.A. Henderson, and P.-N. Lin, "A High-Resolution Millennial Record of the South Asian Monsoon from Himalayan Ice Cores." Science, Vol. 289, Pgs. 1916-1919, 2000.