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Climate Change Institute

Gordon Bromley

Research Assistant Professor

Gordon Bromley

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221 Bryand Global Sciences Ctr
University of Maine 
Orono, ME  04469

Research interests

The 'How' and 'Why' of climate change, as well as its impacts on society and ecosystems, are the broad foci of my research interests. Of particular concern to me is the tropics, a region lying at the heart of Earth's climate system and which is home to the majority of all life. The tropics play a key role in ice ages and the global transmission of abrupt climate signals. Thus, deciphering both the timing and true nature of past events at low latitudes is fundamental to our understanding of the role of the tropics in climate. In conjunction with colleagues at UMaine, Dartmouth College, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Pacific Lutheran University, Berkeley Geochronology Center, the Escuela de Ingenieria de Antioquia (Colombia) and the Departamento de Geociencias y Medio Ambiente at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, I am employing geomorphic mapping and surface-exposure/radiocarbon dating to resolve the timing of late-Quaternary glacial events, such as the last glacial maximum and late-glacial reversals. This evolving project also involves snowline reconstructions and palaeoecological studies, as a measure of the magnitude past climate events, and deciphering the human record of settlement and adaptation in the high Andes of South America.

Cordillera Blanca at Dusk

As a natural extension of these palaeoclimate investigations, and bridging the gap between past and future climate change, I am developing research aimed at determining the glacial contribution to regional hydrology in arid tropical regions. This multi-institutional, international project involves Brigham Young University, U.C. Santa Cruz, and Berkeley Geochronology Center, as well as Peruvian collaborators in Arequipa, and combines a glaciologic study of glaciers in southern Peru - where the prevailing climate is arid -, chronologic constraint of past meltwater variability, and direct measurement of modern meltwater discharge in the Peruvian Andes. Additionally, a further tropics-based investigation seeks to understand the relationship between rapid deglaciation and volcanism. This work, involving colleagues at Michigan Technological University, will employ surface-exposure dating of glacial and volcanic landforms in addition to micro-morphometric analysis of erupted mineral grains such as quartz (in dacite) and pyroxene (dacite and andesite). At the other end of the latitudinal range, I am involved in reconstructing the deglacial history of the Ross Sea Embayment, Antarctica. As part of projects in the southern Transantarctic Mountains, I have been using glacial geology to help determine the former configuration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the potential contribution of Antarctica to postglacial sea level rise. My involvement with this work continues in collaboration with Brenda Hall (U. Maine) and John Stone (U. Washington). Additionally, with Greg Balco (Berkeley Geochronology Center) I am conducting new NSF-funded research into the long-term stability (or otherwise!) of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, using the geologic record of glaciation from the interior Transantarctic Mountains (see Meanwhile, exciting forays into abrupt climte change are taking my research into the North Atlantic region, where rapid - yet poorly understood - switches in oceanic and atmospheric circulation have wrought havoc on a disturbingly human timescales.


Throughout my work, cosmogenic surface-exposure dating constitutes a vital tool for constructing precise and accurate geologic chronologies. After completing my doctorate at Maine in 2010, I held a postdoctoral fellowship at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, New York, where I focused on the use of cosmogenic helium in surface-exposure dating. I continue to apply surface-exposure dating in my tropical work, as well as for palaeoclimate applications in Great Britain, Antarctica, and New England.


And then there is art...

 coring on Rannoch Moor



  • Bromley, G.R.M., Hall, B.L., Thompson, W.B., Kaplan, M.R., Luis Garcia, J., Schaefer, J.M. Late glacial fluctuations of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in the White Mountains of Maine and New Hampshire, U.S.A. Quaternary Research 83, 522-530.

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Bromley, G.R.M., Putnam, A.E., Rademaker, K.M., Lowell, T.V., Schaefer, J.M., Hall, B.L., Winckler, G., Birkel, S.D., Borns, H.W., Jr. Younger Dryas Deglaciation Of Scotland Driven By Warming Summers. PNAS

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Bromley, G.R.M., Winckler, G., Schaefer, J.M., Kaplan, M.R., Licht, K.J., Hall, B.L., 2014. Pyroxene separation by HF leaching and its impact on helium surface-exposure dating. Quaternary Geochronology 23, 1-8

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Rademaker, K., Hodgins, G., Moore, K., Zarillo, S., Miller, C., Bromley, G.R.M., Leach, P., Reid, D.A., Yépez Álvarez, W., Sandweiss, D.H., 2014. Paleoindian settlement of the high-altitude Peruvian Andes. Science 346, 466-469.

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Rademaker, K.M., Bromley, G.R.M., Sandweiss, D.H. Peru Archaeological Radiocarbon Database, 13,000-7000 14C B.P. Quaternary International 301, 34-45

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Hall, B.L., Porter, C.T., Denton, G.H., Lowell, T.V., Bromley, G.R.M., 2013. Extensive recession of Cordillera Darwin glaciers in southernmost South America during Heinrich Stadial 1. Quaternary Science Reviews 62, 49-55

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Bromley, G.R.M., Hall, B.L., Stone, J.O., Conway, H. Late Pleistocene evolution of Scott Glacier, southern Transantarctic Mountains:
    implications for the Antarctic contribution to deglacial sea level. Quaternary Science Reviews 50, 1-13.

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Rademaker, K., Reid, D.A., Bromley, G.R.M., 2012. Connecting the Dots: Least-Cost Analysis, Paleogeography, and the Search for Palaeoindian Sites in Southern Highland Peru. In D.A. White and S. Surface-Evans (eds.) Least Cost Analysis of Social Landscapes: Archaeological Case Studies, University of Utah.
  • Bromley, G.R.M., Hall, B.L., Schaefer, J.M., Winckler, G., Todd, C.E., Rademaker, K.M. Glacier fluctuations in the southern Peruvian Andes during the late-glacial period, constrained with cosmogenic 3He. Journal of Quaternary Science 26 (1), 37-43

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Bromley, G.R.M., Hall, B.L., Rademaker, K.M., Todd, C.E., Racoviteaunu, A. Late Pleistocene snowline fluctuations at Nevado Coropuna (15°S), southern Peruvian Andes. Journal of Quaternary Science 26 (3), 307-317

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Bromley, G.R.M., Hall, B.L., Stone, J.O., Conway, H., Todd, C.E. Late Cenozoic deposits at Reedy Glacier, Transantarctic Mountains: implications for former thickness of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Quaternary Science Reviews 29, 384-398

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Todd, C., Stone, J., Conway, H., Hall, B., Bromley, G. Late Quaternary evolution of Reedy Glacier, Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews 29, 1328-1341

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Bromley, G.R.M., Schaefer, J.M., Winckler, G., Hall, B.L., Todd, C.E., Rademaker, K.M. Relative timing of last glacial maximum and late-glacial events in the central tropical Andes. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 2514-2526

    For more information: Read abstract


  • 2010 — Collaborative research: Timing and structure of the last glacial maximum and termination in southern Peru: Implications for the role of the tropics in climate change from National Science Foundation
  • 2012 to 2014 — Building Peruvian capacity for monitoring and modelling the effects of climate change on the Coropuna Glacier and associated watersheds in Arequipa, Peru from USAID-NSF PEER)
  • 2015 to 2018 — Collaborative Research: Potential direct geologic constraint of ice sheet thickness in the central Transantarctic Mountains during the Pliocene warm period from NSF


Ph.D. University of Maine 2010

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