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


Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews
McConnell, JR, Burke, A, Dunbar, NW, Köhler, P, Thomas, JL, Arienzo, MM, Chellman, NJ, Maselli, OJ, Sigl, M, Adkins, JF, Baggenstos, D, Burkhart, JF, Brook, EJ, Buizert, C, Cole-Dai, J, Fudge, TJ, Knorr, G, Graf, H-F, Grieman, MM, Iverson, N, McGwire, KC, Mulvaney, R, Paris, G, Rhodes, RH, Saltzman, ES, Severinghaus, JP, Steffensen, JP, Taylor, KC & Winckler, G 2017, 'Synchronous volcanic eruptions and abrupt climate change ~17.7k years ago plausibly linked by stratospheric ozone depletion' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol Early Edition. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1705595114
Struve, T, van de Flierdt, T, Burke, A, Robinson, LF, Hammond, SJ, Crocket, KC, Bradtmiller, LI, Auro, ME, Mohamed, KJ & White, NJ 2017, 'Neodymium isotopes and concentrations in aragonitic scleractinian cold-water coral skeletons - Modern calibration and evaluation of palaeo-applications' Chemical Geology, vol 453, pp. 146-168. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2017.01.022
Chen, T, Robinson, LF, Burke, A, Southen, J, Spooner, P & Morris, PJ 2015, 'Synchronous centennial abrupt events in the ocean and atmosphere during the last deglaciation' Science, vol 349, no. 6255, pp. 1537-1541. DOI: 10.1126/science.aac6159
Burke, A, Stewart, AL, Adkins, JF, Ferrari, R, Jansen, MF & Thompson, AF 2015, 'The glacial mid-depth radiocarbon bulge and its implications for the overturning circulation' Paleoceanography, vol Early view. DOI: 10.1002/2015PA002778
Thiagarajan, N, Gerlach, D, Roberts, ML, Burke, A, McNichol, A, Jenkins, WJ, Subhas, AV, Thresher, RE & Adkins, JF 2013, 'Movement of deep-sea coral populations on climatic timescales' Paleoceanography, vol 28, no. 1. DOI: 10.1002/palo.20023
McIntyre, CP, Roberts, ML, Burton, JR, McNichol, AP, Burke, A, Robinson, LF, von Reden, KF & Jenkins, WJ 2011, 'Rapid radiocarbon (14C) analysis of coral and carbonate samples using a continuous-flow accelerator mass spectrometry (CFAMS) system' Paleoceanography, vol 26, no. 4. DOI: 10.1029/2011PA002174

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