Rona Thompson

Photo of Rona


  • Current Position: Senior Scientist at NILU (Norwegian Institute for Air Research)
  • Email:

Research Interests

My main interest lies in determining the sources and understanding the source processes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other climate-related atmospheric species, in particular, CO2, CH4, N2O and halocarbons. For this, I use a combination of atmospheric concentration measurements and models of atmospheric transport. I also use statistical optimization techniques, especially Bayesian inversion, to determine the best estimates of the sources of different atmospheric species. Moreover, I am trying to improve understanding of anthropogenic emissions and natural sources (and sinks) and the influence of environmental factors on these.

Current Projects

I have developed a Bayesian inversion tool, FLEXINVERT, for the estimation of surface to atmosphere fluxes of atmospheric species. The framework is based on Source - Receptor Relationships (SRRs), which describe the relationship between changes in mixing ratio at a receptor point and changes in fluxes, calculated by the Lagrangian Particle Dispersion Model, FLEXPART. For more information about FLEXINVERT click here

Previous Experience

  • 2009 - 2011 – Post-doctoral researcher, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnment, Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Atmospheric transport modeling using LMDZ and estimation of N2O sources using 4D-var Bayesian inversion

  • 2005 - 2008 – Post-doctoral researcher, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany

Atmospheric measurements of GHGs and other species using GC, NDIR, and CRDS. Responsible for the atmospheric station, Ochsenkopf, Germany

  • 2001 – Research Assistant, National Institute for Water and Air Research


  • 2001 - 2005 – PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Thesis title: Variations in atmospheric O2 and CO2 in the Southern Ocean region from continuous ship-based measurements, supervised by Dr. D. Lowe, Dr. A. Manning, Dr. D. Weatherburn

  • 1997 - 2000 – Bachelor of Science Honours, Chemistry, First Class Honours, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand


  • A. Leip, A. Vermuelen, U. Skiba, R. L. Thompson: A complete rethink is needed on how greenhouse gas emissions are quantified for national reporting, Atmos. Environ., 17, 237-240, 2018 (here)
  • H. Tian, J. Yang, C. Lu, R. Xu, J. G. Canadell, R. Jackson, A. Arneth, J. Chang, G. Chen, P. Ciais, S. Gerber, A. Ito, Y. Huang, F. Joos, S. Lienert, P. Messina, S. Olin, S. Pan, C. Peng, E. Saikawa, N. Vuichard, S. Zaehle, B. Zhang, K. Zhang, Q. Zhu, R. L. Thompson, and W. Winiwarter: The global N2O Model Intercomparison Project (NMIP): Objectives, Simulation Protocol and Expected Products, BAMS, 2018
  • N. Evangeliou, V. P. Shevchenko, K. E. Yttri, S. Eckhardt, E. Sollum, O. S. Pokrovsky, V. O. Kobelev, V. B.Korobov, A. A. Lobanov, D. P. Starodymova, S. N. Vorobiev, R. L. Thompson, and A. Stohl: Origin of elemental carbon in snow from Western Siberia and northwestern European Russia during winter–spring 2014, 2015 and 2016, Atmos. Chem. Phys, doi:10.5194/acp-2017-542, 2017 (here)
  • R. L. Thompson, M. Sasakawa, T. Machida, T. Aalto, D. Worthy, J. V. Lavric, C. Lund Myhre, and A Stohl: Methane fluxes in the high northern latitudes for 2005-2013 estimated using a Bayesian atmospheric inversion, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17(5), 3553-3572, doi:10.5194/acp-17-3553-2017, 2017 (here)
  • D. Brunner, T. Arnold, S. Henne, A. Manning, R. L. Thompson, M. Maione, S. O'Doherty and S. Reimann: Comparison of four inverse modelling systems applied to the estimation of HFC-125, HFC-134a and SF6 emissions over Europe, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 2017, 1-29, doi:10.5194/acp-2017-19 (here)
  • 2016
    • R. L. Thompson, P. K. Patra, F. Chevallier, S. Maksyutov, R. M. Law, T. Ziehn, I. T. van der Laan-Luijkx, W. Peters, A. Ganshin, R. Zhuravlev T. Maki, T. Nakamura, T. Shirai, M. Ishizawa, T. Saeki, T. Machida, B. Poulter, J. G. Canadell and P. Ciais, Top-down assessment of the Asian carbon budget since the mid 1990s, Nature Comm., 7:10724, doi:10.1038/ncomms10724, 2016 (here)
    • X. Fang, M. Shao, A. Stohl, Q. Zhang, J. Zheng, H. Guo, C. Wang, M. Wang, J. Ou, R. L. Thompson, and R. G. Prinn, Top-down estimates of benzene and toluene emissions in Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong, China, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 3369-3382, doi:10.5194/acp-16-3369-2016, 2016 (here)
    • R. L. Thompson, A. Stohl, L. X. Zhou, E. Dlugokencky, Y. Fukuyama, Y. Tohjima, S.-Y. Kim, H. Lee, E. G. Nisbet, R. E. Fisher, D. Lowry, R. F. Weiss, R. G. Prinn, S. O'Doherty, D. Young, and J. W. C. White, Methane emissions in East Asia for 2000-2011 estimated using an atmospheric Bayesian Inversion, J. Geophys. Res.: Atmos, 120, 9, 4352-4369, doi:10.1002/2014JD022394, 2015 (here)
    • E. J. Morgan, J. V. Lavric, T. Seifert, T. Chicoine, A. Day, J. Gomez, R. Logan, J. Sack, T. Shuuya, E. G. Uushona, K. Vincent, U. Schultz, E.-G. Brunke, C. Labuschagne, R. L. Thompson, S. Schmidt, A. C. Manning, and M. Heimann, Continuous measurements of greenhouse gases and atmospheric oxygen at the Namib Desert Atmospheric Observatory, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 2233-2250, doi:10.5194/amt-8-2233-2015, 2015 (here)
    • P. Bergamaschi, M. Corazza, U. Karstens, M. Athanassiadou, R. L. Thompson, I. Pison, A. J. Manning, P. Bousquet, A. Segers, A. T. Vermeulen, G. Janssens-Maenhout, M. Schmidt, M. Ramonet, F. Meinhardt, T. Aalto, L. Haszpra, J. Moncrieff, M. E. Popa, D. Lowry, M. Steinbacher, A. Jordan, S. O'Doherty, S. Piacentino, and E. Dlugokencky, Top-down estimates of European CH4 and N2O emissions based on four different inverse models, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 715-736, doi:10.5194/acp-15-715-2015, 2015 (here)
    • R. L. Thompson and A. Stohl, FLEXINVERT: An atmospheric Bayesian inversion framework for determining surface fluxes of trace species using an optimized grid, Geosci. Model Devel., 7, 2223-2242, doi:10.5194/gmd-7-2223-2014, 2014 (here)
    • X. Fang, R. L. Thompson, T. Saito, Y. Yokouchi, J. Kim, S. Li, K. R. Kim, S. Park, F. Graziosi, and A. Stohl, Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) emissions in East Asia determined by inverse modeling, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 4779-4791, 2014 (here)
    • M. Fiebig, D. Hirdman, C. R. Lunder, J. A. Ogren, S. Solberg, A. Stohl, and R. L. Thompson, Annual cycle of Antarctic baseline aerosol: controlled by photooxidation-limited aerosol formation, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 3083-3093, doi:10.5194/acp-14-3083-2014, 2014 (here)
    • R. L. Thompson, P. K. Patra, K. Ishijima, E. Saikawa, M. Corazza, U. Karstens, C. Wilson, P. Bergamaschi, E. Dlugokencky, C. Sweeney, R. G. Prinn, R. F. Weiss, S. O'Doherty, P. J. Fraser, L. P. Steele, P. B. Krummel, M. Saunois, M. Chipperfield, and P. Bousquet, TransCom N2O model inter-comparison Part I: Assessing the influence of surface fluxes on tropospheric N2O variability, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 4349-4368, doi:10.5194/acp-14-4349-2014, 2014 (here)
    • R. L. Thompson, K. Ishijima, E. Saikawa, M. Corazza, U. Karstens, P. K. Patra, P. Bergamaschi, F. Chevallier, E. Dlugokencky, R. G. Prinn, R. F. Weiss, S. O'Doherty, P. J. Fraser, L. P. Steele, P. B. Krummel, A. Vermeulen, Y. Tohjima, A. Jordan, L. Haszpra, M. Steinbacher, S. Van der Laan, T. Aalto, F. Meinhardt, M. E. Popa, J. Moncrieff, and P. Bousquet, TransCom N2O model inter-comparison Part II: Atmospheric inversion estimates of N2O emissions, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 6177-6194, doi:10.5194/acp-14-6177-2014, 2014 (here)
    • R. L. Thompson, F. Chevallier, A. M. Crotwell, G. Dutton, R. L. Langenfelds, R. G. Prinn, R. F. Weiss, Y. Tohjima, T. Nakazawa, P. B. Krummel, L. P. Steele, P. Fraser, S. O'Doherty, K. Ishijima, and S. Aoki, Nitrous oxide emissions 1999 - 2009 from a global atmospheric inversion, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, doi:10.5194/acp-14-1801-2014, 2014 (here)

    earlier publications here


    • 2004 – Victoria University PhD completion Scholarship

    Victoria University of Wellington

    • 2001 – Top Achievers Doctoral Scholarship

    Foundation of Research, Science and Technology of New Zealand

    • 2000 – Curtis Gordon Research Scholarship in Chemistry

    Victoria University of Wellington

    • 1999 – Victoria Graduate Award

    Victoria University of Wellington

    Earlier Publications

    • R. L. Thompson, E. Dlugokencky, F. Chevallier, P. Ciais, G. Dutton, J. W. Elkins, R. L. Langenfelds, R. G. Prinn, R. F. Weiss, Y. Tohjima, S. O'Doherty, P. B. Krummel, P. Fraser, and L. P. Steele, Inter-annual variability in tropospheric nitrous oxide, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 1-6, doi:10.1002/grl.50721, 2013 (here)
    • G. Broquet, F. Chevallier, F. M. Breon, M. Alemanno, F- Apadula, S. Hammer, L. Haszpra, F. Meinhardt, J. Necki, S. Piacentino, M. Ramonet, M. Schmidt, R. L. Thompson, A. T. Vermeulen, C. Yver, P. Ciais, Regional inversion of CO2 ecosystem fluxes from atmospheric measurements: reliability of the uncertainty estimates, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 9039-9056, 2013 (here)
    • Contributing author to: Carbon and Other Biogeochemical Cycles. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. (here)
    • S. Luyssaert, G. Abril, R. Andres, D. Bastviken, V. Bellassen, P. Bergamaschi, P. Bousquet, F. Chevallier, P. Ciais, M. Corazza, R. Dechow, K.H. Erb, G. Etiope, A. Fortems-Cheiney, G. Grassi, J. Hartman, M. Jung, J. Lathiere, A. Lohila, N. Moosdorf, S. Njakou Djomo, J. Otto, D. Papale, W. Peters, P. Peylin, P. Raymond, C. Rodenbeck, S. Saarnio, E.D. Schulze, S. Szopa, R. Thompson, P.J. Verkerk, N. Vuichard, R. Wang, M. Wattenbach, S. Zaehle, The European CO2, CO, CH4 and N2O balance between 2001 and 2005, Biogeosciences, 9(2), 3357-3380, 2012 (here)
    • 2011
    • R. L. Thompson, P. Bousquet, F. Chevallier, P.J. Rayner, and P. Ciais, Impact of the atmospheric sink and vertical mixing on nitrous oxide fluxes estimated using inversion methods, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D17307, doi:10.1029/2011JD015815, 2011 (here)
    • D. Pillai, C. Gerbig, R. Ahmadov, C. Rodenbeck, R. Kretschmer, T. Koch, R. L. Thompson, B. Neininger, and J. Lavric, High Resolution Simulations of atmospheric CO2 over Complex Terrain - representing the Ochsenkopf mountain tall tower, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11(15), 7445-7464, 2011 (here)
    • Harvey, M. J, Harvey, Mike J., Law, Cliff S., Smith, Murray J., Hall, Julie A., Abraham, Edward R., Stevens, Craig L., Hadfield, Mark G., Ho, David T., Ward, Brian, Archer, Stephen D., Cainey, Jill M., Currie, Kim I., Devries, Dawn, Ellwood, Michael J., Hill, Peter, Jones, Graham B., Katz, Dave, Kuparinen, Jorma, Macaskill, Burns, Main, William. Marriner, Andrew, McGregor, John, McNeil, Craig, Minnett, Peter J., Nodder, Scott D., Peloquin, Jill, Pickmere, Stuart, Pinkerton, Matthew H., Safi, Karl A., Thompson, Rona, Walkington, Matthew, Wright, Simon W., Ziolkowski, Lori A., The SOLAS air-sea gas exchange experiment (SAGE) 2004, Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 58(6), 753-763, 2011 (here)
    • R. L. Thompson, C. Gerbig, C. Rodenbeck, A Bayesian inversion estimate of N2O emissions for western and central Europe and the assessment of aggregation errors, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11(7), 3443-3458, 2011 (here)
    • M. Corazza, P. Bergamaschi, A. T. Vermeulen, T. Aalto, L. Haszpra, F. Meinhardt, S. O'Doherty, R. Thompson, J. Moncrieff, E. Popa, M. Steinbacher, A. Jordan, E. Dlugokencky, C. Bruhl, M. Krol, and F. Dentener, Inverse modelling of European N2O emissions: assimilating observations from different networks, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11(5), 2381-2398, 2011 (here)
    • R. L. Thompson, A.C. Manning, E. Gloor, U. Schultz, T. Seifert, F. Hansel, A. Jordan, M. Heimann, In-situ measurements of oxygen, carbon monoxide, and greenhouse gases from Ochsenkopf tall tower in Germany, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 2, 573-591, 2009 (here)
    • R. L Thompson, M. Gloor, A.C. Manning, D.C Lowe, C. Rodenbeck, C. Le Quere, Variability in atmospheric O2 and CO2 concentrations in the southern Pacific Ocean and their comparison with model estimates, J. Geophys. Res., 113, G02025, doi:10.1029/2007JG000554, 2008 (here)
    • R. L. Thompson, A.C. Manning, D.C. Lowe and D.C. Weatherburn, A ship-based methodology for high precision atmospheric oxygen measurements and its application in the Southern Ocean region, Tellus, 59, 643-653, 2007 (here)