Dr Andrea Burke

Dr Andrea Burke
Senior Lecturer


My research is motivated by a desire to understand the interactions between ocean circulation, chemistry, and climate on a variety of timescales. To do this, I use isotope geochemistry and numerical modeling. Current interests include:

Southern Ocean circulation and CO2
Overturning circulation in the Southern Ocean plays a key role in CO2 regulation and heat transport. Changes in Southern Ocean circulation are thought to control glacial-interglacial CO2 cycles in the past, and may have an important influence on anthropogenic
CO2 uptake in the future. To understand these processes I use radiocarbon as a tracer of ocean-atmosphere CO2 exchange and ocean circulation. Much of my work has focused on deep sea corals, which provide an excellent archive for radiocarbon and other geochemical tracers, and can be precisely dated using uranium and thorium isotope ratios (Burke and Robinson, 2012, Chen et al., 2015). This geochemical work is coupled with circulation modelling, including the application of inverse methods to explore protactinium/thorium changes in the deep Atlantic (Burke et al., 2011), and new approaches to dynamical modelling of Southern Ocean circulation (Ferrari et al., 2014; Burke, Stewart et al., 2015).

Sulfur biogeochemistry and climate forcing
The sulfur cycle exerts an important control on earth's surface redox state, is intertwined with a variety of biogeochemical reactions, and may act as a major climate forcer. To gain insights into these processes I make measurements of sulfur isotope ratios, using a new multi-collector inductively-coupled-plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS) technique (Paris et al., 2013). The key advantage of this method is that it allows us to make measurements on extremely small samples, opening up a variety of exciting new research possibilities. Current work includes constraining riverine fluxes of sulfur to the ocean, and reconstructions of climate forcing from volcanic sulfate aerosols.


Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (REINFORCE: Reconstructing and Interpreting the Forcing of Climate using Sulfur and Carbon Isotopes).

NERC Standard Grant: REIMAGINATION: REconstructing and understanding the IMplications of surface radiocarbon AGe changes In the North Atlantic for overturning circulatTION)

source: symbiosis


Research Overview:

Climate Change and what we can learn from the environmental history of our planet

My research focuses on the forcings and mechanisms of natural climate and carbon cycle change through geochemical records of past climatic events. My group makes geochemical measurements on samples from ice cores, corals, and marine sediment cores to understand the forcings and responses of our climate system on timescales ranging from recent history to millions of years ago.

You can read more about my research at my website:



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Sulfate sulfur isotopes and major ion chemistry reveal that pyrite oxidation counteracts CO2 drawdown from silicate weathering in the Langtang-Trisuli-Narayani River system, Nepal Himalaya P.C. Kemeny, G.I. Lopez, N.F. Dalleska, M. Torres, Andrea Burke, M.P. Bhatt, A.J. West, J. Hartmann, J.F. Adkins
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2021 vol. 294 pp. 43-69
Marine20—the marine radiocarbon age calibration curve (0 – 55,000 cal BP) Timothy J. Heaton, Peter Köhler, Martin Butzin, Edouard Bard, Ron W. Reimer, William Austin, Christpher Bronk Ramsey, Pieter M. Grootes, Konrad A. Hughen, Bernd Kromer, Jess Adkins, Andrea Burke, Mea S. Cook, Jesper Olsen, Luke C. Skinner
Radiocarbon 2020 vol. 62 pp. 779-820
Overturning circulation, nutrient limitation, and warming in the Glacial North Pacific James William Buchanan Rae, William Robert Gray, R. C. J. Wills, I. Eisenman, B. Fitzhugh, M. Fotheringham, Eloise Littley, P. A. Rafter, Rhian Laura Rees-Owen, A. Ridgwell, Andrea Burke
Science Advances 2020 vol. 6
Rapid shifts in circulation and biogeochemistry of the Southern Ocean during deglacial carbon cycle events Tao Li, Laura F. Robinson, Tianyu Chen, Xingchen T. Wang, Andrea Burke, James William Buchanan Rae, Albertine Pegrum-Haram, Timothy D. J. Knowles, Gaojun Li, Jun Chen, Hong Chin Ng, Maria Prokopenko, George Rowland, Ana Samperiz, Joseph A. Stewart, John Southon, Peter T. Spooner
Science Advances 2020 vol. 6
Refining trace metal temperature proxies in cold-water scleractinian and stylasterid corals Joseph A. Stewart, Laura F. Robinson, Russell D. Day, Ivo Strawson, Andrea Burke, James William Buchanan Rae, Peter T. Spooner, Ana Samperiz, Peter J. Etnoyer, Branwen Williams, Adina Paytan, Melanie J. Leng, Vreni Häussermann, Leslie N. Wickes, Rachael Bratt, Helena Pryer
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2020 vol. 545
Sea-ice control on deglacial lower cell circulation changes recorded by Drake Passage deep-sea corals David Wilson, Torben Struve, Tina van de Flierdt, Tianyu Chen, Tao Li, Andrea Burke, Laura F. Robinson
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2020 vol. 544
The flux and provenance of dust delivered to the SW Pacific during the last glacial maximum Molly Diana Trudgill, R. Shuttleworth, H. C. Bostock, Andrea Burke, M. J. Cooper, Rosanna Greenop, G. L. Foster
Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 2020 vol. 35
Wind-driven evolution of the North Pacific subpolar gyre over the last deglaciation William Robert Gray, Robert CJ Wills, James William Buchanan Rae, Andrea Burke, Ruza F Ivanovic, William HG Roberts, David Ferreira, Paul J Valdes
Geophysical Research Letters 2020 vol. 47
Stratospheric eruptions from tropical and extra-tropical volcanoes constrained using high-resolution sulfur isotopes in ice cores Andrea Burke, Kathryn Anne Moore, Michael Sigl, Dan Constantin Nita, Joseph R. McConnell, Jess F. Adkins
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2019 vol. 521 pp. 113-119
CO2 storage and release in the deep Southern Ocean on millennial to centennial timescales James William Buchanan Rae, Andrea Burke, L. F. Robinson, J. F. Adkins, T. Chen, Catherine Sarah Cole, Rosanna Greenop, T. Li, Eloise Littley, Dan Constantin Nita, J. A. Stewart,
Nature 2018 vol. 562 pp. 569-573
Climatic effect of Antarctic meltwater overwhelmed by concurrent Northern hemispheric melt Ruza Ivanovic, Lauren Gregoire, Andrew Wickert, Andrea Burke
Geophysical Research Letters 2018 vol. 45 pp. 5681-5689
Deglacial upwelling, productivity and CO2 outgassing in the North Pacific Ocean William Robert Gray, James William Buchanan Rae, Robert C. J. Wills, Amelia E. Shevenell, Andrea Burke, Gavin L. Foster, Caroline H. Lear
Nature Geoscience 2018 vol. 11 pp. 340–344
Distribution and ecology of planktic foraminifera in the North Pacific James William Buchanan Rae, William Robert Gray, Kate Darling, Andrea Burke, Rainer Gersonde, Andrea Abelmann, Edith Maier, Oliver Esper, Patrizia Ziveri
Quaternary Science Reviews 2018 vol. 191 pp. 256-274
Sulfur isotopes in rivers Andrea Burke, Theodore M. Present, Guillaume Paris, Emily C. M. Rae, Brodie H. Sandilands, Jérôme Gaillardet, Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink, Woodward W. Fischer, James W. McClelland, Robert G. M. Spencer, Britta M. Voss, Jess F. Adkins
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2018 vol. 496 pp. 168-177
Collapse of the North American ice saddle 14,500 years ago caused widespread cooling and reduced ocean overturning circulation Ruza Ivanovic, Lauren Gregoire, Andrew Wickert, Paul Valdes, Andrea Burke
Geophysical Research Letters 2017 vol. 44 pp. 383-392
Neodymium isotopes and concentrations in aragonitic scleractinian cold-water coral skeletons - Modern calibration and evaluation of palaeo-applications Torben Struve, Tina van de Flierdt, Andrea Burke, Laura F Robinson, Samantha J. Hammond, Kirsty C. Crocket, Louisa I. Bradtmiller, Maureen E. Auro, Kais J. Mohamed, Nicholas J. White
Chemical Geology 2017 vol. 453 pp. 146-168
Synchronous volcanic eruptions and abrupt climate change ~17.7k years ago plausibly linked by stratospheric ozone depletion Joe McConnell, Andrea Burke, Nelia W. Dunbar, Peter Köhler, Jennie L. Thomas, Monica M. Arienzo, Nathan J. Chellman, Olivia J. Maselli, Michael Sigl, Jess F. Adkins, Daniel Baggenstos, John F. Burkhart, Edward J. Brook, Christo Buizert, Jihong Cole-Dai, T. J. Fudge, Gregor Knorr, Hans-F. Graf, Mackenzie M. Grieman, Nels Iverson, Kenneth C. McGwire, Robert Mulvaney, Guillaume Paris, Rachael H. Rhodes, Eric S. Saltzman, Jeffrey P. Severinghaus, Jørgen Peder Steffensen, Kendrick C. Taylor, Gisela Winckler
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2017 vol. 114 pp. 10035-10040
Transient climate simulations of the deglaciation 21-9 thousand years before present (version 1) - PMIP4 Core experiment design and boundary conditions Ruza Ivanovic, Lauren Gregoire, Masa Kageyama, Didier Roche, Paul Valdes, Andrea Burke, Rosemarie Drummond, W. Richard Peltier, Lev Tarasov
Geoscientific Model Development 2016 vol. 9 pp. 2563-2587
Large Carbonate Associated Sulfate isotopic variability between brachiopods, micrite, and other sedimentary components in Late Ordovician strata Theodore Present, Guillaume Paris, Andrea Burke, Woodward Fischer, Jess Adkins
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2015 vol. 432 pp. 187-198
Synchronous centennial abrupt events in the ocean and atmosphere during the last deglaciation Tianyu Chen, Laura Robinson, Andrea Burke, John Southon, Peter Spooner, Paul J. Morris, Hong Chin Ng
Science 2015 vol. 349 pp. 1537-1541
The glacial mid-depth radiocarbon bulge and its implications for the overturning circulation Andrea Burke, Andrew L. Stewart, Jess F. Adkins, Raffaele Ferrari, Mate F. Jansen, Andrew F. Thompson
Paleoceanography 2015 vol. Early view
Antarctic sea ice control on ocean circulation in present and glacial climates Raffaele Ferrari, Malte F. Jansen, Jess F. Adkins, Andrea Burke, Andrew L. Stewart, Andrew F. Thompson
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2014 vol. 111 pp. 8753-8758
Temporal and spatial distributions of cold-water corals in the Drake Passage Andrew R. Margolin, Laura F. Robinson, Andrea Burke, Rhian G. Waller, Kathryn M. Scanlon, Mark L. Roberts, Maureen E. Auro, Tina van de Flierdt
Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 2014 vol. 99 pp. 237-248
Carbonate as sputter target material for rapid 14C AMS Brett E. Longworth, Laura F. Robinson, Mark L. Roberts, Steven R. Beaupre, Andrea Burke, William J. Jenkins
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms 2013 vol. 294 pp. 328-334
Movement of deep-sea coral populations on climatic timescales Nivedita Thiagarajan, Dana Gerlach, Mark L. Roberts, Andrea Burke, Ann McNichol, William J. Jenkins, Adam V. Subhas, Ronald E. Thresher, Jess F. Adkins
Paleoceanography 2013 vol. 28
Improvements to 232-thorium, 230-thorium, and 231-protactinium analysis arising from GEOTRACES intercalibration Maureen E. Auro, Laura F. Robinson, Andrea Burke, Louisa I. Bradtmiller, Martin Q. Fleischer, Robert F. Anderson
Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 2012 vol. 10 pp. 464-474
The Southern Ocean’s role in carbon exchange during the last deglaciation Andrea Burke, Laura F. Robinson
Science 2012 vol. 335 pp. 557-561
Application of an inverse method to interpret 231Pa/230Th observations from marine sediments Andrea Burke, Olivier Marchal, Louisa I. Bradtmiller, Jerry F. McManus, Roger Francois
Paleoceanography 2011 vol. 26
Rapid radiocarbon (14C) analysis of coral and carbonate samples using a continuous-flow accelerator mass spectrometry (CFAMS) system Cameron P. McIntyre, Mark L. Roberts, Joshua R. Burton, Ann P McNichol, Andrea Burke, Laura F. Robinson, Karl F. von Reden, William J Jenkins
Paleoceanography 2011 vol. 26
Seasonal evolution of water source contributions to subglacial outflow: Insight from a new isotope-mixing model Maya P. Bhatia, Sarah B. Das, Elizabeth B. Kujawinski, Paul B. Henderson, Andrea Burke, Matthew A. Charette
Journal of Glaciology 2011 vol. 57 pp. 929-941
Reconnaissance dating: A new radiocarbon method applied to assessing the temporal distribution of Southern Ocean deep-sea corals Andrea Burke, Laura F Robinson, Ann P. McNichol, William J. Jenkins, Kathryn M. Scanlon, Dana S. Gerlach
Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 2010 vol. 57 pp. 1510-1520
Genesis of active sand-filled polygons in lower and central Beacon Valley, Antarctica James G. Bockheim, Mark D. Kurz, S. Adam Soule, Andrea Burke
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 2009 vol. 20 pp. 295-308
Depth-shifting cores incompletely recovered from the upper oceanic crust, IODP Hole 1256D Lisa A Gilbert, Andrea Burke
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 2008 vol. 9
Seasonal cycles in biogenic production and export in Northern Bay of Bengal sediment traps Heather M. Stoll, Alicia Arevalos, Andrea Burke, Patrizia Ziveri, Graham Mortyn, Nobumichi Shimizu, Daniela Unger
Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 2007 vol. 54 pp. 558-580

Contact Details:

Dr Andrea Burke
Irvine Building
University of St Andrews
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

tel: 01334 464015
room: 416


Scottish Oceans Institute
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
STAIG Principle Investigators

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The Secretary
Scottish Oceans Institute
Institiud Chuantan na h-Alba
Gatty Marine Laboratory
East Sands St Andrews
KY16 8LB

tel: +44 (0) 1334 463472
fax: +44 (0) 1334 463443