Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Dr. Andy Hein

Research interests:

I am interested in Quaternary paleoclimate research and understanding natural climate change. In this regard, I focus on geochronology and glacial geomorphology. I want to understand when and why glaciers and ice sheets expanded and contracted or thickened and thinned in the past. This sort of firm geologic data of past change is crucial to understanding the climate system and what future changes we can expect in a warming world.

I measure the concentration of cosmogenic nuclides such as 10Be, 26Al, 36Cl, 21Ne and 14C that have accumulated in Earth surface sediments. Doing so enables me to answer a range of questions regarding both paleoclimate and Earth surface processes. For example, you will see in the brief project descriptions below, I have been able to determine the timing of major advances of the Patagonian Ice Sheet throughout the Pleistocene, the rate at which the Patagonian landscape is eroding and lowering through time, and the amount and timing of thinning of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Weddell Sea region. My research is interdisciplinary; it involves collaborations with geologists, geomorphologists, palaeoecologists and glacial modelers, and I have been fortunate enough to work with several accomplished collaborators in their respective fields. My research activities focus on two regions, Antarctica and southern South America.

Career history:

2010 – Present: Research Fellow and Manager of Edinburgh’s Cosmogenic Nuclide Laboratory

2008 – 2010: NERC PDRA “Ice elevation changes in the Shackleton Range, Weddell Sea embayment, Antarctica”; PI – David Sugden

PhD 2009 – Glacial Geomorphology (emphasis on the application of cosmogenic nuclides) University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Active research projects:

1/03/12 – 1/10/15: NERC Project: A new approach to West Antarctic Ice Sheet evolution using blue-ice moraines on nunataks, Sugden, D., Hein, A., Woodward, J. & Dunning, S.

Research Collaboration with external organisation

1/02/12 – 31/03/16: A new approach to West Antarctic ice sheet evolution using blue ice moraines on nunataks, Sugden, D. & Hein, A.


Recent publications:

Hein, A.S., Woodward, J., Marrero, S.M., Dunning, S.A., Steig, E.J., Freeman, S.P., Stuart, F.M., Winter, K., Westoby, M.J. and Sugden, D.E., 2016. Evidence for the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet divide for 1.4 million years. Nature communications, 7.

Winter, K., Woodward, J., Dunning, S.A., Turney, C.S., Fogwill, C.J., Hein, A.S., Golledge, N.R., Bingham, R.G., Marrero, S.M., Sugden, D.E. and Ross, N., 2016. Assessing the continuity of the blue ice climate record at Patriot Hills, Horseshoe Valley, West Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters.

Westoby, M.J., Dunning, S.A., Woodward, J., Hein, A.S., Marrero, S.M., Winter, K. and Sugden, D.E., 2015. Sedimentological characterization of Antarctic moraines using UAVs and Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry. Journal of Glaciology, 61(230), pp.1088-1102.

Westoby, M.J., Dunning, S.A., Woodward, J., Hein, A.S., Marrero, S.M., Winter, K. and Sugden, D.E., 2015. Inter-annual surface evolution of an Antarctic blue-ice moraine using multi-temporal DEMs. Earth Surface Dynamics Discussions, 3, pp.1317-1344.

Darvill, C.M., Bentley, M.J., Stokes, C.R., Hein, A.S. and Rodés, Á., 2015. Extensive MIS 3 glaciation in southernmost Patagonia revealed by cosmogenic nuclide dating of outwash sediments. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 429, pp.157-169.

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