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WHOI in the News

The Mystery of Why Our Ancestors Left Africa

The Atlantic

How might climate variability have shaped H. erectus? The marine geologist and climate scientist Peter de Menocal, the director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, has studied changes in climate 1.9 million years ago using layers of sediment buried beneath the ocean floor off the coast of East Africa. He points out that “the period of around 2 million years [ago] is one of the major junctures in human evolution.”

Can we harness the natural power of the ocean to fight climate change?

The Hill

A top priority for science is to advance our understanding and monitoring of the oceans so that we can measure impacts and viability of these potential solutions. Specifically, this means developing more complete understanding of how the ocean works at this scale, how it cycles carbon from the surface to deep waters, and how the oceans are changing. With this new capability, we can test the effectiveness and impacts of these ocean CDR approaches.

Columbia to Launch $25 Million AI-based Climate Modeling Center

Columbia News

To bring greater precision to climate modeling and encourage societies to prepare for the inevitable disruptions ahead, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Columbia to lead a climate modeling center called Learning the Earth with Artificial Intelligence and Physics (LEAP). In collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the center will develop the next generation of data-driven physics-based climate models.

WHOI Named As NSF Science And Tech Center

Cape News

“The basic idea is that we’re trying to understand the molecules and the microbes that are really important for transforming about a quarter of Earth’s photosynthetic carbon every year. That area, that particular pool of carbon, has been really hard to study because it turns over really fast, which means it’s produced and consumed in very short time periods. There’s not much of it at any one point in time, so we have had a very hard time analytically pulling it out of seawater, characterizing it, trying to understand which bacteria or phytoplankton or microbes, in general, are important for controlling it and so on.”

Here Come the First Responders … And the Engineers?

The Atlantic

“Many of those interactions only occur during the biggest storms, when the surge and the waves inundate land and there’s heavy rainfall,” says Britt Raubenheimer, a coastal oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Sunlight Exposure for 100 Hours or Less Melts Plastics, Breaks Them Down Into Smaller Soup of New Chemicals

The Science Times

Microplastics are considered a major environmental hazard that is produced from the disintegration of plastics. Sadly, many of them end up in oceans and pollute or contaminate the waters and marine life. Now, a new study shows that long sunlight exposure could break down plastics and transform them into a soup of new chemicals and eliminate the hazards of microplastics.

A Recent Reversal Discovered in the Response of Greenland’s Ice Caps to Climate Change

SciTech Daily

New collaborative research from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and five partner institutions (University of Arizona, University of Washington, Pennsylvania State University, Desert Research Institute and University of Bergen), published on September 9, 2021, in Nature Geoscience, reveals that during past periods glaciers and ice caps in coastal west Greenland experienced climate conditions much different than the interior of Greenland.

The Right Tools for Right Whales

eco Magazine

Lonati’s methodology involves looking for whales, then hovering the university’s dual-gimbal DJI Matrice 210 V2 drone over a whale when it surfaces, capturing high-resolution images using an RGB camera at 20m above the ocean surface, then descending to 10m to capture a reading of the whale’s internal body temperature via its blowhole using an infrared camera. It is worth noting that drones have been deployed by researchers before to gather information about whales.

‘No easy answers’ WHOI building project designed for sea-level rise

Cape Cod Times

“This is critical infrastructure to what we do,” said Rob Munier, WHOI vice president for marine facilities and operations. “Others can contemplate alternatives, including retreat (from the waterfront), but we have to be there. It’s part of our ability to do our mission.”

Our future is in our hands

Boston Globe

It is “unequivocal” that human influence has warmed the planet and that widespread, rapid changes have already occurred in every region of the globe as a result. The scale and rate of changes are “unprecedented” in relation to the past hundreds to thousands of years. And there are more changes on the way.