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. I am 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, see my RESEARCH and PUBLICATIONS pages, lab news below, or this short VIDEO.

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

Northwestern's 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. Joining the QSL in 2017: A new core analysis lab with Geotek MSCL core logger and more!

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.



* 2016: Our first field season in South Greenland was a big success. Thanks to the field team! *
* 2016: NSF DDRI grant with NU-EPS co-PI Maggie Osburn will fund McFarlin's lipid H research *
* 2015: NSF-CAREER award will fund five-year study of south Greenland paleoclimate *
* 2015: Congrats! Jamie McFarlin awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship *
* 2015: National Geographic Society to fund 2015 expedition to Greenland *
* 2014: Lasher & McFarlin give research talks to U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, Thule residents *
* 2014: Lasher receives AAG Marcus Fund award *
* 2014: ISEN Early Career Award will fund pilot work on Last Interglacial climate*
* 2014: Andrew Pfeiffer selected to participate in Biosphere 2 REU *
* 2014: Nora Richter wins Fulbright Fellowship for research at Universitat Bern *


* visit me on Twitter *
* NU Dept of Earth & Planetary Sciences *
* NUCO2 - real-time CO2 measurements from the Northwestern campus *
* 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