My present research aims to improve knowledge of the nature, rate and timing of climatic changes during the last glacial cycle and the previous interglacial period (Eemian). This will be achieved through the precise synchronisation of key ice-core and marine sequences from the North Atlantic region using horizons of volcanic ash (tephra). Through this work I have been involved in the retrieval and analysis of the latest deep-ice core to be extracted from the Greenland Ice Sheet, the North Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) core. A significant focus of this work involves improving the robustness of geochemical characterisations of tephra horizons through the use of the technique of laser ablation inductively couple plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), in addition to the standard technique of electron-probe micro analysis. This allows us to gain trace element characterisations and a more comprehensive geochemical fingerprint for horizons which will aid in the correlation of material between records. Work on marine records has involved the application of the density separation technique to explore the presence of cryptotephra horizons within the fine-fraction of sediments and attempts to disentangle the transport history of volcanic material within the marine environment.