Skip to content
For WHOI personnel and vendors: COVID-19 Guidelines

Ice Ages & Past Climates


Monster hurricanes reached U.S. during prehistoric periods of ocean warming

Intense hurricanes, possibly more powerful than any storms New England has experienced in recorded history, frequently pounded the region during the first millennium, from the peak of the Roman Empire into the height of the Middle Ages, according to a new study. The findings could have implications for the intensity and frequency of hurricanes the U.S. could experience as ocean temperatures increase as a result of climate change, according to the study’s authors.

Read More

Study Supplies Insight into Behavior of African Monsoon

Think of the Sahara and you will conjure images of a vast desert landscape, with nothing but sand as far as the eye can see.  But for a period of about 10,000 years, the Sahara was characterized by lush, green vegetation and a network of lakes, rivers and deltas.

This “green Sahara” occurred between 14,800 and 5,500 years ago during what is known as the “African Humid Period.” Why and how it ended is the subject of scientific study that holds important information for predicting the region’s response to future climate change.

In a study published this week in Nature Geoscience, a team of researchers provides new insight into the behavior of the African monsoon at the end of the African Humid Period and the factors that caused it to collapse.

Read More

Climate Change Led to Collapse of Ancient Indus Civilization, Study Finds

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 also resolves a long-standing debate over the source and fate of the Sarasvati, the sacred river of Hindu mythology.

Read More

Study Links Major Shifts in Indian Civilizations to Past Changes in Monsoon

A fundamental shift in the Indian monsoon has occurred over the last few millennia, from a steady humid monsoon that favored lush vegetation to extended periods of drought, reports a new study led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The study has implications for our understanding of the monsoon’s response to climate change.

Read More

To Catch a Hurricane

To Catch a Hurricane

On Aug. 25, 2011, the line projecting Hurricane Irene’s path up the East Coast barreled smack into Woods Hole, Mass.,…

Read More

Sam Zipper

Sam Zipper

It might seem strange that Sam Zipper spent his summer on balmy Cape Cod studying the western Canadian Arctic. But…

Read More

Hurricane Hunter

Hurricane Hunter

Soon after they married, Jon Woodruff asked his new wife Akiko Okusu if she’d like to take a trip to her…

Read More