Dr Graham Rush

Dr Graham Rush


I am a Quaternary scientist interested in climate driven changes in the cryosphere, predominantly the water flux between ice sheets and the oceans. My work focuses on reconstructing sea-level change in order to understand ice sheet histories and how these can inform future predictions of environmental change. I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on the RISeR project (Rates of Interglacial Sea-Level Change, and Responses) led by Natasha Barlow and funded by the European Research Council’s Starting Grant scheme.

I studied for a BSc and MSc at the University of Gloucestershire from where I went on to complete a PhD at the University of York under the supervision of Roland Gehrels. My PhD was focused on reconstructing sea-level rise in the early Holocene to better understand the driver(s) of the 8.2 ka climate event.  For my PhD, I worked at sites in the UK and the Falkland Islands, South Atlantic and have also worked in the Swiss Alps and Antarctica.

I have previously worked as a GIS technician for the British Antarctic Survey and an Associate Lecturer at the University of York, teaching across numerous modules including lectures, practical sessions and field based teaching and maintain a keen interest in teaching and pedagogy.

Research interests

My work involves reconstructing sea level in inter tidal settings, but I have a wider interest in the sea-level change from an earth systems perspective - the drivers of sea-level change and the impact of its change. During my PhD (“Rapid sea-level rise and climate change: lessons from the early Holocene”) I produced quantitative relative sea-level reconstructions for sites in the North and South Atlantic, including reconstructions in Scotland at decimetre/centennial resolution to understand the disintegration of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and the role of meltwater pulses on the heat transport system of the oceans, and millennial Holocene reconstructions in the South Atlantic to understand the relative contributions of different ice sheets and the glacio- and hydro-isostatic adjustment. I have also developed proababilistic sea-level reconstructions.

As part of the RISeR project, my current work involves studying microfossils (foraminifera) from North Sea cores to reconstruct sea level for the Last Interglacial, which in combination with chronological work will enable the rates of sea-level change to be quantified. The work will help disentangle the relative contribution of the Greenland and/or Antarctica ice sheets to global Last Interglacial sea-level rise and hence help guide and improve future projections of ice-sheet retreat and associated sea-level rise.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, Environmental Geogrpahy, University of York
  • MSc, Applied Ecology, University of Gloucestershire
  • BSc (Hons), Geography, University of Gloucestershire

Professional memberships

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Quaternary Research Association (QRA)
  • Royal Geographic Society (RGS)
  • European Geographical Union (EGU)

Research groups and institutes

  • Earth Surface Science Institute