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More than 4,000 years ago, the Harappa culture thrived in the Indus River Valley of what is now modern Pakistan and northwestern India, where they built sophisticated cities, invented sewage systems that predated ancient Rome’s, and engaged in long-distance trade with settlements in Mesopotamia. Yet by 1800 BCE, this advanced culture had abandoned their cities, moving instead to smaller villages in the Himalayan foothills. A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found evidence that climate change likely drove the Harappans to resettle far away from the floodplains of the Indus.
Sea levels in coastal areas can be affected by a number of factors: tides, winds, waves, and even barometric pressure all play a role in the ebb and flow of the ocean. For the first time, however, a new study led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has shown that river outflow could play a role in sea level change as well.
A team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has collaborated with Myanmar scientists to present the first extensive view of the Ayeyawady River delta’s history, revealing how its floodplains and shorelines on the Andaman Sea have grown and shrunk over the past 10,000 years.
Scientists have long known that steep mountain ranges can draw carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere—as erosion exposes new rock, it also starts a chemical reaction between minerals on hill slopes and CO2 in the air, “weathering” the rock and using CO2 to produce carbonate minerals like calcite.
Over the last century, many of the world’s major rivers have been modified for the purposes of flood control, power generation, and commercial navigation. A new study out of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution suggests that engineering modifications to the Mississippi River interact with the have increased the risk of extreme floods to unprecedented levels.
Each summer, the South Asian monsoon transforms parts of India from semi-arid into lush green lands able to support farming. The annual infusion of rainfall and resulting runoff into the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and other rivers in the region also has a very different, but no less dramatic, impact on the Bay of Bengal in the northeast Indian Ocean.
Scientists from WHOI calculated the first direct estimate of how much and in what form organic carbon is exported to the ocean by rivers.
A new study by WHOI geologist Liviu Giosan and his colleagues documents the historic sediment record along the Danube River delta, and offers simple and inexpensive strategies to enhance deltas's natural ability to trap sediment and maintain their floodplains against rising sea levels and increasingly frequent and severe storms.
A new study combining the latest archaeological evidence with state-of-the-art geoscience technologies provides evidence that climate change was a key ingredient in the collapse of the great Indus or Harappan Civilization almost 4000 years ago. The study, led by WHOI geologist Liviu Giosan, also resolves a long-standing debate over the source and fate of the Sarasvati, the sacred river of Hindu mythology.
Global warming could destabilize the pool of carbon in the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin and similar places on Earth, potentially increasing the rate of CO2 release into the atmosphere.
A three-year study into the cause of local area red tides is set to begin March 21. A team of researchers from the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will be examining the cause of red tides in the Nauset Marsh Estuary and its embayments in Cape Cod, Mass.
Did a catastrophic flood of biblical proportions drown the shores of the Black Sea 9,500 years ago, wiping out early Neolithic settlements around its perimeter? A geologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and two Romanian colleagues report in the January issue of Quaternary Science Reviews that, if the flood occurred at all, it was much smaller than previously proposed by other researchers.
Arctic coastal environments are some of the most vulnerable to climate change. A team of WHOI researchers visited Canada’s Mackenzie River Delta in April 2007 to find out just how vulnerable.
Scientists use lab techniques and sediment cores from the ocean to help
explain how rivers have changed course over millions of years.
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