Global temperatures have risen by ~1°C since the end of the 19th century. The last few years have been the warmest on record, and the last decade was the warmest, globally, for many centuries. These changes are driven by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels. As a result, in 2018, CO2 levels surpassed 410 parts per million for the first time in over 3 million years and the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase. More heat accumulates in the oceans, ocean acidification increases and sea-level keeps rising as glaciers and ice caps melt. Despite impotence in addressing this issue at the federal level in the U.S., the rest of the world has recognized the reality of global warming and acknowledged the real dangers that it poses for the future. Although taking steps to address the matter is difficult, many countries (and states) have embraced the opportunity to reduce energy consumption, implement conservation strategies and promote new technologies that involve energy production from non-carbon based fuels.
Ray Bradley is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences and Director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He did his undergraduate work at Southampton University (U.K.) and his post-graduate studies (M.S., Ph.D.) at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder. He also earned a D.Sc. from Southampton University, for his contributions in paleoclimatology. In 2015, he received the Zuckerberg Leadership Chair from the University of Massachusetts Foundation.
Bradley has received honorary degrees (D.Sc honoris causa) from Lancaster University (U.K.), Queen’s University (Canada) and the University of Bern (Switzerland) and was awarded the Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Arctic Institute of North America and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, and Academia Europaea, the European Academy of Science.
Bradley’s research focuses on climate variations over recent centuries and millennia. He has carried out extensive fieldwork in the Arctic and North Atlantic region (Canadian High Arctic, Greenland, Svalbard, the Faroe Islands and northern Norway). Bradley has written or edited thirteen books on climatic change, and authored/co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed articles on the topic.