Royal Society of Canada recognizes UMass prof for climate research


For the Gazette
Saturday, September 14, 2019

AMHERST — Raymond Bradley, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was recently elected an International Fellow in the Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Division of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada.

Bradley specializes in paleoclimatology, which he said is “the study of past climate, before we had measurements using (scientific) instruments.”

Indeed, Bradley’s research stretches through the past 2.6 million years, a period of time called the Quaternary, the third period of the Cenozoic Era in the geologic time scale. His interest in paleoclimatology began as a graduate student at the University of Colorado, where he found himself in the Canadian Arctic, assisting his fellow graduate students in the field. There, he said his love for paleoclimatology was born.

“We first went to Baffin Island and then Ellesmere Island in the far North of Canada,” Bradley said. “Then I was hooked and began my research in the Arctic hereafter.” 

As a professor at UMass in the Geosciences Department, Bradley continues his research in the field.  Now, he is on a research trip in the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic. 

Bradley holds honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Bern, Lancaster University, and Queens University and is the author of the book “Paleoclimatology.”

In his new fellowship, Bradley hopes to continue his studies in the north. 

“I hope to continue working in the north for as long as I can,” Bradley said. “I was in Svalbard and southern Greenland earlier this year doing research and I hope to have a new research project in northern Greenland and perhaps in northern Ellesmere over the next couple of years.”

His fellowship citation reads, “Bradley is internationally recognized for his research on paleoclimatology, which has made major contributions to our understanding of the nature and causes of climate change. He has focused in particular on climate variations in the Arctic and North Atlantic region, spending many years doing fieldwork in the Canadian Arctic, Greenland and northern Scandinavia.” 

Bradley said it is vital to pay attention to what is happening in the Arctic as the future of Earth’s climate remains a hot topic.

“The Arctic is changing rapidly due to human effects on climate and that will affect the rest of the world as ice-sheets melt and sea level rises,” Bradley said. “We need to study and understand that remote area far better in order to get a grip on what might happen in the future.”