Dr Tom Bradwell


Biological and Environmental Sciences University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Tom Bradwell

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About me

About me

I am an interdisciplinary geoscientist specialising in Quaternary geology and geomorphology. My research expertise lies in reconstructing landscape and environmental change, onshore and offshore, using geomorphological, geophysical and Quaternary dating methods. I use a range of analytical tools and techniques to understand, quantify and predict rates of ice-sheet and sea-level change. I collaborate widely with international researchers including numerical modellers, oceanographers, planetary scientists, social scientists and equipment developers.

Brief Biography

  • since 2015: Lecturer in Physical Geography (University of Stirling)
  • 2006-2015: Senior Scientist & Team Leader, British Geological Survey / Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Edinburgh
  • 2001-2006: Quaternary Geologist, British Geological Survey / Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Edinburgh
  • 2001: PDRA, University of Sheffield, BRITICE project
  • 1997-2001: PhD, University of Edinburgh, Geography (School of Natural Sciences)
  • 1994-1997: BSc (Hons., First Class), University of Liverpool, Earth Sciences


Clough Memorial Award - Edinburgh Geological Society

Lewis Penny Medal - Quaternary Research Association

Divisional / Faculty Contribution

Advisor of Studies & Programme Director
BSc Environmental Geography

Committee Member
BES Learning & Teaching

Divisional Coordinator
Publicity & Open Days (undergraduate)

HEIs in Scotland - Heads of Geography
Royal Scottish Geographical Society
Research & Knowledge Exchange Committee

Other Academic Activities

Honorary Research Fellow
British Geological Survey

Scottish Blue Carbon Forum (Marine Scotland / Scottish Government)

Other Project

4SWIND (Research Council of Norway)
University of Bergen
International partner

Britice-Chrono (NERC / UKRI)
Co-I & Transect leader

Professional Career

Associate Editor
Geografiska Annaler: Series A (Physical Geography)

Associate Editor
Scottish Geographical Journal

Committee Member
Royal Scottish Geographical Society
Medals and Awards Committee

Earth Science Specialist
European Geoparks Network Coordination Committee (NW Scottish Highlands)

Fellow or Member
Royal Geographical Society; Royal Scottish Geographical Society; British Society for Geomorphology; Quaternary Research Association; Scottish Association for Geosciences, Environment & Society; Marine Alliance for Science & Technology for Scotland

Research (2)

I am a geoscientist interested in global change. My research focuses on some of the most pressing questions facing science and society today. I seek to understand rates of ice-sheet and sea-level change, past and present, and determine the long-term stability of ice shelves and marine ice sheets. My research over the last two decades has helped to enhance our understanding of the evolution and demise of former ice masses, and improve model predictions of ice-sheet and sea-level change.

My current / ongoing research includes:

  • Reconstructing the glacial history of Scotland and the surrounding continental shelf 

  • Measuring and understanding modern rates of glacier change in Iceland  

  • Non-destructive analysis and characterisation of Quaternary sediments

  • Refining geochronological (surface-exposure dating) techniques 

  • Exploring the link between seabed gas escape, neotectonics and deglaciation

  • Expanding the evidence base for rapid sea-level change

  • Mapping seabed disturbance in Marine Protected Areas

  • Geoconservation in National Parks and Geoparks

CURRENT PhD STUDENTS (all as primary supervisor):

Heather Stewart – Ice streaming, ice-sheet deglaciation and substrate properties of the western North Sea Basin, UK.

Allan Audsley – Scotland’s Pockmarks: Understanding the link between gas-escape features and buried carbon in fjordic systems. (Funded by MASTS, NatureScot & University of Stirling.)

Neil McDonald – Getting to the bottom of ice shelves: High-resolution multi-proxy analysis of glaciomarine sediments preserved in The Minch, NW Scotland. (Funded by NERC-IAPETUS2.)


Sven Lukas – Younger Dryas moraines in the NW Highlands of Scotland: genesis, significance and potential modern analogues (co-supervised with Doug Benn, St Andrews) [2002-2005].

Hannah Mathers – Constraining ice-sheet thickness and ice-stream collapse in NW Scotland using cosmogenic-isotope analysis (co-supervised with Derek Fabel, Glasgow) [2006-2014].

Kate McIntyre – Offshore records of ice extent and deglaciation, Loch Linnhe, western Scotland (co-supervised with John Howe, SAMS/UHI) [2008-2012].

Henry Patton – Modelling the dynamic (in)stability of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet (co-supervised with Alun Hubbard, Aberystwyth & Nick Golledge) [2009-2012].

Helena Stewart – Peat’s secret archive: North Atlantic storm frequency and volcanic eruption history over the last 10,000 years (co-supervised with Bob McCulloch, Stirling & Jo Bullard, Loughborough) [2012-2016].


Does lichenometry really work? Evaluating growth-rate variability in yellow-green Rhizocarpon lichens
PI: Dr Tom Bradwell
Funded by: Royal Geographical Society

PI: Dr Tom Bradwell
Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council

Outputs (65)


Book Chapter

Stewart H, Bradwell T, Carter G, Dove D & Gafeira J (2021) Geomorphology of the Offshore Continental Shelf. In: Ballantyne CK & Gordon JE (eds.) Landscapes and Landforms of Scotland. World Geomorphological Landscapes. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 117-134. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-71246-4_6


Bradwell T, Fabel D, Clark CD, Chiverrell RC, Small D, Smedley RK, Saher MH, Moreton SJ, Dove D, Callard SL, Duller GAT, Medialdea A, Bateman MD, Burke MJ & McDonald N (2021) Pattern, style and timing of British-Irish Ice Sheet advance and retreat over the last 45 000 years: evidence from NW Scotland and the adjacent continental shelf. Journal of Quaternary Science, 36 (5), pp. 871-933. https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.3296


Roberts DH, Evans DJA, Callard SL, Clark CD, Bateman MD, Medialdea A, Dove D, Cotterill CJ, Saher M, Ó'Cofaigh C, Chiverrell RC, Moreton SG, Fabel D & Bradwell T (2018) Ice marginal dynamics of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet in the southern North Sea: Ice limits, timing and the influence of the Dogger Bank. Quaternary Science Reviews, 198, pp. 181-207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.08.010


Stewart H, Bradwell T, Bullard J, Davies S, Golledge N & McCulloch R (2017) 8000 years of North Atlantic storminess reconstructed from a Scottish peat record: implications for Holocene atmospheric circulation patterns in Western Europe. Journal of Quaternary Science, 32 (8), pp. 1075-1084. https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.2983

Book Chapter

Bradwell T & Stoker M (2016) Glacial sediment and landform record offshore NW Scotland: A fjord-shelf-slope transect through a Late Quaternary mid-latitude ice-stream system. In: Dowdeswell J, Canals M, Jakobsson M, Todd B, Dowdeswell E & Hogan K (eds.) Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms: Modern, Quaternary and Ancient. Geological Society Memoir, 46. London: Geological Society of London, pp. 421-428. http://mem.lyellcollection.org/content/46/1/421; https://doi.org/10.1144/M46.152

Book Chapter

Bradwell T & Stoker M (2016) Recessional moraines in nearshore waters, northern Scotland. In: Dowdeswell J, Canals M, Jakobsson M, Todd B, Dowdeswell E & Hogan K (eds.) Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms: Modern, Quaternary and Ancient. Geological Society Memoir, 46. London: Geological Society of London, pp. 63-64. http://mem.lyellcollection.org/content/46/1/63; https://doi.org/10.1144/M46.13

Book Chapter

Dove D, Finlayson A, Bradwell T, Howe JA & Arosio R (2016) Deglacial landform assemblage records fast ice-flow and retreat, Inner Hebrides, Scotland. In: Dowdeswell J, Canals M, Jakobsson M, Todd B, Dowdeswell E & Hogan K (eds.) Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms: Modern, Quaternary and Ancient. Geological Society Memoir, 46. London: Geological Society of London, pp. 135-138. http://mem.lyellcollection.org/content/46/1/135; https://doi.org/10.1144/M46.144


Bullard J, Baddock M, Bradwell T, Crusius J, Darlington E, Gaiero D, Gasso S, Gisladottir G, Hodgkins R, McCulloch R, McKenna-Neuman C, Mockford T, Stewart H & Thorsteinsson T (2016) High-latitude dust in the Earth system. Review of Geophysics, 54 (2), pp. 447-485. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016RG000518


Howe JA, Anderton R, Arosio R, Dove D, Bradwell T, Crump P, Cooper R & Cucuccio A (2015) The seabed geomorphology and geological structure of the Firth of Lorn, western Scotland, UK, as revealed by multibeam echo-sounder survey. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 105 (04), pp. 273-284. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1755691015000146


Siegert M & Bradwell T (2013) Antarctic earth sciences: Preface. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 104 (1), p. 1. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1755691013000121


Howe JA, Dove D, Bradwell T & Gafeira J (2012) Corrigendum to "Submarine geomorphology and glacial history of the Sea of the Hebrides, UK"[Mar. Geol, 351-318(2012) 64-76]. Commentary on: John A. Howe, Dayton Dove, Tom Bradwell, Joana Gafeira, Submarine geomorphology and glacial history of the Sea of the Hebrides, UK, Marine Geology, Volumes 315–318, 15 June 2012, Pages 64-76. Marine Geology, 329-331, pp. 126-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2012.09.008

Book Chapter

Graham AGC, Stoker M, Lonergan L, Bradwell T & Stewart MA (2011) The pleistocene glaciations of the North Sea basin. In: Ehlers J, Gibbard P & Hughes P (eds.) Quaternary glaciations - extent and chronology: a closer look. Developments in Quaternary Science, 15. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 261-278. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780444534477000210; https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-53447-7.00021-0


Bradwell T (2010) REPLY: A response to Bradwell's commentary on recent statistical studies in lichenometry. Commentary on: Jomelli, V., Naveau, P., Cooley, D., Grancher, D., Brunstein, D., and Rabatel, A., 2010: A response to Bradwell’s commentary on recent statistical studies in lichenometry. Geogr. Ann. 92A (4): 485–487. Bradwell, T., 2009: Lichenometric dating: a commentary, in the light of some recent statistical studies. Geografiska Annaler, 91A: 61–69.. Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, 92 (4), pp. 488-488. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0459.2010.00410.x


Armstrong RA & Bradwell T (2010) Growth of crustose lichens: A review. Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, 92 (1), pp. 3-17. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0459.2010.00374.x



I am Programme Director and Advisor of Studies for the BSc Environmental Geography degree.

I teach across all four years at undergraduate level, and at postgraduate level:

ENVU2LV (Landscape Evolution) - module coordinator & teacher

GEOU9GL (Glaciers & Landscape) - module coordinator & teacher

GEOU1GE (Building Planet Earth) - teacher

GEOU6IC (Scotland Field course) - teacher

GEOU9PR (Honours Research Dissertation) - supervisor

ENMPG18 (MSc Research Dissertation) - supervisor

I also currently supervise Postgraduate Research Students at PhD level.

Research programmes

Research centres/groups

Research themes