Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D., Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, 2016
B.A., Geology and Economics, Carleton College, 2011

Teaching Interests

My courses focus on two major themes: the climate and the tools we use to understand the climate. Earth’s climate requires description at both local and global scales, with processes that last from seconds to centuries. Much of our understanding is built on observations, but measuring the solid earth, ocean, cryosphere, and atmosphere has tested the ingenuity of natural scientists for centuries. 

For that, I turn to geophysics, which provides the tools to describe, predict, and measure Earth systems at all scales. My courses bring together modern geophysical observations with the context of the geologic record, which together provide a lens to better understand climate dynamics, geologic hazards, and the wide range of natural processes that affect the health and well-being of humans in the Earth system. 

In addition, my courses highlight the new challenges of twenty-first-century Earth Science. The field used to be data-limited, with remote areas inaccessible, and every field observation hard-fought. But, as we advance our efforts for global Earth monitoring, we must embrace new ways of distilling and interpreting the deluge of geophysical data collected each day. My classes are designed to help students develop skill in computational methods, data analytics, and data visualization, uniquely motivated through problems of geologic interest and social relevance.

Research Interests

My research examines the physical processes that govern glacier change from the equator to the poles. Glaciers in the mid-latitudes are the capacitors of the hydrologic system, accumulating snow in the wet season and discharging it in the dry season, providing critical water resources to water-stressed communities in Asia and South America. Ice Sheets at the poles buffer global sea-level, and future rapid ice loss from the ice sheets represents the largest source of uncertainty in coastal hazards over the next century. Independent of the unknowns regarding future emissions and climate sensitivity, there are huge gaps in our understanding of how and why glaciers behave the way they do. I use geophysical observations to characterize the modern state, the integrated history, and the likely future behavior of glaciers around the world. 

Selected Publications

  • Holschuh, N., Christianson, K., Paden, J., Alley, R.B., and Anandakrishnan, S., "Linking postglacial landscapes to glacier dynamics using swath radar at Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica."  Geology, 48 (2020): 1–5.
  • Alley, K. E., Scambos, T. A., Alley, R. B., & N. Holschuh, "Troughs developed in ice-stream shear margins precondition ice shelves for ocean-driven breakup."  Science Advances, 5 (2019): 1–7.
  • Smith, B., Fricker, H. A., N. Holschuh, Gardner, A. S., Adusumilli, S., Brunt, K. M., Csatho, B., Harbeck, K., Huth, A., Neumann, T., Nilsson, J., Siegfried, M. R., "Land ice height-retrieval algorithm for NASA’s ICESat-2 photon-counting laser altimeter."  Remote Sensing of Environment, (2019): 1–17.
  • N. Holschuh, Lilien, D., and Christianson, K. "Thermal Weakening, Convergent Flow, & Vertical Heat Transport in the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream Shear Margins."  Geophysical Research Letters, 46 (2019):  8184–8193.
  • Koellner, S., Parizek, B. R., Alley, R. B., Muto, A., & Holschuh, N., "The impact of spatially-variable basal properties on outlet glacier flow."  Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 550 (2019): 200-208.
  • Riverman, K., Alley, R. B., Anandakrishnan, S., Christianson, K., Holschuh, N., Medley, B., Muto, A. and Peters, L., "Enhanced Firn Densification in High-Accumulation Shear Margins of the NE Greenland Ice Stream."  Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface (2019): 1-18.
  • Alley, R. B., Pollard, D., Parizek, B. R., Anandakrishnan, S., Pourpoint, M., Stevens, N. T., MacGregor, J., Christianson, K., Muto, A., & Holschuh, N., "Possible Role for Tectonics in the Evolving Stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet."  Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface (2019): 1-19.