My students and I study climate and environmental change, primarily through the lens of paleolimnology (the study of lake sediments and past lake environments). Our field and laboratory work focuses on understanding the impacts of climate change in Arctic and alpine environments. The geologic record provides unique opportunities to observe how natural systems respond to changing climate. We are especially interested in documenting the past responses -- and thereby estimating the future sensitivity -- of mountain glaciers, continent-sized ice sheets, and cold-adapted ecosystems to climate change. Much of the research in my lab has focused on the Holocene (the past 11,000 years of Earth's history), but we study timescales ranging from the Pliocene to the present. For details, please see my RESEARCH page and PUBLICATIONS.

Some current & recent study sites. Click pins for field photos.

The Quaternary Sediment Lab hosts microscopy facilities and cold storage for sediment cores, and is equipped for geochemical, physical and paleoecological analyses of lake cores and other sediments.

Undergraduate Melissa Gardner prepares charcoal samples from the Peruvian Andes
for analysis in the Quaternary Sediment Lab.

My COURSES at Northwestern address Earth's climate system and climate history, methods in Quaternary geology, Earth surface processes, and the physical science of human impacts on the environment. For a taste of topics, read from students in my Energy & Climate Change class.

I am committed to sharing science beyond academia. For example, see my Op-Eds on cold winters and climate change and the future of the Arctic.


*NU Dept of Earth & Planetary Sciences *
* NUCO2 - real-time CO2 measurements from the Northwestern campus *
* 2012 & 2014 NU Climate Change Symposia - videotaped talks now available *
* Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) *

Mailing address:
Yarrow Axford
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Northwestern University
Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston IL 60208-3130

email: axford at northwestern dot edu