Climate & Ocean


Global Warming Q&A

climate-panel

Introduction The following Q&A was developed from a panel discussion held in Woods Hole as part of the Institution’s spring…

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Waters West of Europe Drive Ocean Overturning, Key for Regulating Climate

Waters West of Europe Drive Ocean Overturning, Key for Regulating Climate

In the Atlantic MOC, warm, salty, shallow waters are carried northward from the tropics by currents and wind, and then converted into colder, fresher, deep waters that return southward through the Iceland and Irminger basins. In a departure from the prevailing scientific view, the study shows that most of the conversion from warm to cold water – or ‘overturning’™ and its month-to-month variability – ”is occurring in regions between Greenland and Scotland, rather than in the Labrador Sea off Canada, as many past modeling studies have suggested.

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The long memory of the Pacific Ocean

The long memory of the Pacific Ocean

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Harvard University have found that the deep Pacific Ocean lags a few centuries behind in terms of temperature and is still adjusting to the entry into the Little Ice Age. Whereas most of the ocean is responding to modern warming, the deep Pacific may be cooling.

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Greenland Ice Sheet Melt ‘Off the Charts’ Compared With Past Four Centuries

Greenland Ice Sheet Melt 'Off the Charts' Compared With Past Four Centuries

Surface melting across Greenland’s mile-thick ice sheet began increasing in the mid-19th century and then ramped up dramatically during the 20th and early 21st centuries, showing no signs of abating, according to new research published Dec. 5, 2018, in the journal Nature. The study provides new evidence of the impacts of climate change on Arctic melting and global sea level rise.

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Study Tracks Severe Bleaching Events on a Pacific Coral Reef Over Past Century

Study Tracks Severe Bleaching Events on a Pacific Coral Reef Over Past Century

As climate change causes ocean temperatures to rise, coral reefs worldwide are experiencing mass bleaching events and die-offs. For many, this is their first encounter with extreme heat. However for some reefs in the central Pacific, heatwaves caused by El Nino are a way of life. Exactly how these reefs deal with repeated episodes of extreme heat has been unclear. A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has uncovered the history of bleaching on a reef in the epicenter of El Nino, revealing how some corals have been able to return after facing extreme conditions. The study was published October 26, 2018, in the journal Communications Biology.

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Searching for ‘Super Reefs’

Searching for ‘Super Reefs’

Some corals are less vulnerable to ocean acidification. Can the offspring from these more resilient corals travel to other reefs to help sustain more vulnerable coral populations there?

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Marshes, Mosquitoes, and Sea Level Rise

Marshes, Mosquitoes, and Sea Level Rise

In the 1930s, the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project dug approximately 1,500 miles of ditches across marshes on the Cape to drain their water and reduce the number of ponds where mosquitoes can breed. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution biogeochemist Amanda Spivak is studying how this and other management decisions have changed the ability of coastal marshes to store carbon and protect against sea level rise.

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Can We Improve Monsoon Forecasts?

Can We Improve Monsoon Forecasts?

Scientists are exploring the ocean to gain new insights into forecasting the still-unpredictable monsoon rains that billions of people depend on to irrigate their crops

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A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Ocean

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Ocean

Like someone monitoring the traffic flow on a road system, MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate student Sam Levang is examining the flow of the ocean’s global circulation, which has big impacts of our climate.

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Study Finds Link Between River Outflow and Coastal Sea Level

Study Finds Link Between River Outflow and Coastal Sea Level

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.

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Following the Fresh Water

Following the Fresh Water

A research team led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the fingerprint of a massive flood of fresh water in the western Arctic, thought to be the cause of an ancient cold snap that began around 13,000 years ago.

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A Change Has Come in the Arctic

A Change Has Come in the Arctic

On a long voyage across the Arctic Ocean, an MIT-WHOI graduate students finds chemical clues that climate change has already had impacts on the region.

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Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

The twilight zone is a part of the ocean 660 to 3,300 feet below the surface, where little sunlight can reach. It is deep and dark and cold, and the pressures there are enormous. Despite these challenging conditions, the twilight zone teems with life that helps support the ocean’s food web and is intertwined with Earth’s climate. Some countries are gearing up to exploit twilight zone fisheries, with unknown impacts for marine ecosystems and global climate. Scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are poised to explore and investigate this hidden frontier.

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