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Yarrow Axford

William Deering Professor

Ph.D. University of Colorado, Dept. of Geological Sciences
M.S. Utah State University, Dept. of Geology
A.B. Mount Holyoke College, Dept. of Geology
Curriculum Vitae


I study climate and environmental change, primarily through the lens of paleolimnology (the study of lake sediments and past lake environments). My work is aimed at understanding climate change, ecosystem change, and glacier fluctuations in the Arctic and more recently in the Midwest and northeastern U.S. Much of my research has focused on the Holocene (the last 11,000 years of Earth's history), but I study timescales ranging from the Pliocene to the present.


  • EARTH 102: Global Warming: The Scientific Evidence 
  • EARTH 341: Quaternary Climate Change: Ice Ages to the Age of Oil
  • EARTH 342 / ISEN 410: Energy and Climate Change
  • EARTH 450: Arctic Environments
  • EARTH 451: Paleoclimate Perspectives on Future Climate Change
  • EARTH 450/ISEN 495: Communicating Science Beyond Academia
  • EARTH 450: Lake Michigan and Climate Change

Selected Publications

  • Larocca, L.J., Twining-Ward, M., Axford, Y., Schweinsberg, A.D., Larsen, S.H., Westergaard-Nielsen, A., Luetzenburg, G., Briner, J.P., Kjeldsen, K.K., and Bjork, A.A. 2023. Greenland-wide accelerated retreat of peripheral glaciers in the twenty-first century. Nature Climate Change.
  • McFarlin, J.M., Axford, Y., Kusch, S., Masterson, A.L., Lasher, G.E., and Osburn, M.R. 2023. Aquatic plant wax hydrogen and carbon isotopes in Greenland lakes record shifts in methane cycling during past Holocene warming. Science Advances 9, eadh970.
  • Larocca, L., and Axford, Y. 2022. Arctic glaciers and ice caps through the Holocene: a circumpolar synthesis of lake-based reconstructions. Climate of the Past 18, 579–606.
  • Axford, Y., de Vernal, A., and Osterberg, E.C. 2021. Past warmth and its impacts in Greenland during the Holocene Thermal Maximum. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 49, 279–307.
  • Dion-Kirschner, H., McFarlin, J.M., Masterson, A., Axford, Y., and Osburn, M.R. 2020. Modern constraints on the sources and climate signals recorded by plant waxes in west Greenland. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 286, 336–354.
  • Puleo, P.J.K., Axford, Y., McFarlin, J.M., Curry, B.B., Barklage, M., and Osburn, M.R. 2020. Late glacial and Holocene paleoenvironments in the midcontinent United States, inferred from Geneva Lake leaf wax, ostracode valve, and bulk sediment chemistry. Quaternary Science Reviews 241, 106384.
  • McFarlin, J.M., Axford, Y., Masterson, A., and Osburn, M.R. 2019. Calibration of modern sedimentary δ2H plant wax-water relationships in Greenland lakes. Quaternary Science Reviews 225, 105978.