Research Highlights

News & Insights

WHOI on NPR: Why sea level rise varies across the world

August 22, 2019

The sea level is rising more in some places than in others. WHOI scientist Chris Piecuch explains why.

Blue shark

A tunnel to the Twilight Zone

August 2, 2019

Blue sharks ride deep-swirling currents to the ocean’s midwater at mealtime By Evan Lubofsky | August 2, 2019 Video by Camrin Braun, University of Washington and Tane Sinclair-Taylor, James Cook University. When you’re hungry, wouldn’t it be nice to just...

A new way of “seeing” offshore wind power cables

July 25, 2019

Researchers test ocean robots to make subsea cable surveys faster and cheaper By Evan Lubofsky | May 25, 2019 https://www.whoi.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/OffshoreWind-Cable-Monitoring-Option1.mp4 Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs)—a staple of oceanographic research—can perform subsea cable surveys faster and more economically than using ships with...

NASA image - hurricane Florence

WHOI prepares for 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season

July 18, 2019

Researchers deploy autonomous underwater vehicles to improve forecasts By Evan Lubofsky | July 18, 2019 Hurricane Florence. Image courtesy of NASA. With the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane season underway, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is prepared to supply  important ocean data...

WHOI researchers Lizzy Soranna (front left), Lizzie Wallace (front right), and Nicole D'Entremont head out to conduct hurricane research in an azure-colored marine sinkhole—formally known as a blue hole—off Caicos Island in the Caribbean. They collected sediment samples from the bottom of the hole to learn more about the characteristics of Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that passed over the area in early September of 2017. (Photo by Rose Palermo, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).

Hurricane Clues from a Caribbean Blue Hole

July 3, 2019

Scientists look to sediment cores from Caicos Island to gain insights about a monster, modern-day hurricane By Evan Lubofsky | July 8, 2019 WHOI researchers Lizzy Soranno (front left), Nicole D’Entremont (front right) and Lizzie Wallace head out to conduct...

Mining climate clues from our whaling past

June 25, 2019

Researchers look to old whaling logbooks to gain new insights into modern-day climate conditions By Evan Lubofsky | June 26, 2019 Captains and first mates of whaling ships kept daily logs of weather information during each voyage, including wind speed...

Oceanus Magazine

Harnessing the Power

Harnessing the Power

February 6, 2019

Offshore wind power has made landfall in the U.S., and with it, all the tantalizing potential benefits a breezy ocean and some towering blades can bring: reduced use of climate-changing fossil fuels, lower electric bills, energy independence, new jobs, and...

Gliders Reveal Tango Between Hurricanes and the Gulf Stream

Gliders Reveal Tango Between Hurricanes and the Gulf Stream

January 9, 2019

It’s mid-afternoon on a blistering day in South Florida—around 95° F in the shade—and Joleen Heiderich is standing aboard a bright-red tow boat, peering out at the Miami skyline as it fades in the distance. The vessel is typically busy...

Tracking a Snow Globe of Microplastics

Tracking a Snow Globe of Microplastics

December 10, 2018

An estimated eight million tons of plastics enter our oceans each year, yet only one percent can be seen floating at the surface. This is the second in a three-part article series about how researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution...

The Secret Tuna Nursery

The Secret Tuna Nursery

November 20, 2018

It was a little after 10 p.m., and several hundred miles off the coast of Massachusetts, Chrissy Hernandez was counting eyeballs. Scattered across a dinner plate-sized sieve in front of her was the harvest from yet another tow with a...

On (and Below) the Waterfront

On (and Below) the Waterfront

November 5, 2018

You often see them, faded and covered in graffiti, as you pass them on the highway, or piled 40 feet high in industrial waterfronts of working cities: the ubiquitous steel shipping containers that efficiently transport everything from coffee to cars...

The Living Breathing Ocean

The Living Breathing Ocean

October 31, 2018

Rainforests have been dubbed the Earth’s lung, but like us, our planet has two lungs. The second one is the ocean. Rainforests and oceans both draw in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing the buildup of heat-trapping gas that is...

Mysteries of the Red Sea

Mysteries of the Red Sea

October 25, 2018

When my friends and family ask me what I am doing in my research, I respond that “I am investigating the winds and currents of the Red Sea in the Middle East.” Scary faces pop up. All they see are...

The Current that Feeds the Galápagos

The Current that Feeds the Galápagos

October 9, 2018

Just below the surface of the vast Pacific Ocean, a powerful current streams rapidly along the equator from west to east. Thousands of miles after this oceanic superhighway begins its journey near Indonesia, it slams squarely into a tight-knit group...

Can We Improve Monsoon Forecasts?

Can We Improve Monsoon Forecasts?

September 24, 2018

It’s a hot summer day on the Indian subcontinent. Torpid winds are lingering over the dry northern plains. One billion people are looking skyward, counting on the wet monsoon season to bring rainfall. Yet the sky is clear blue. When...

Autonomous Ocean Vehicles Supply Key Data on Hurricane Florence

Autonomous Ocean Vehicles Supply Key Data on Hurricane Florence

September 12, 2018

With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the North Carolina coast, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have mobilized autonomous vehicles and instruments to track changes in the ocean ahead of and beneath Florence. The data will be relayed in...

News Releases

Study Finds No Direct Link Between North Atlantic Ocean Currents, Sea Level Along New England Coast

June 14, 2019

A new study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) clarifies what influence major currents in the North Atlantic have on sea level along the northeastern United States. The study, published June 13 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, examined both...

Antarctic Bottom Waters Freshening at Unexpected Rate

Antarctic Bottom Waters Freshening at Unexpected Rate

January 25, 2017

In the cold depths along the sea floor, Antarctic Bottom Waters are part of a global circulatory system, supplying oxygen-, carbon- and nutrient-rich waters to the world’s oceans. Over the last decade, scientists have been monitoring changes in these waters....

Salty Oceans Can Forecast Rain on Land

Salty Oceans Can Forecast Rain on Land

December 16, 2016

At this week’s American Geophysical Union meeting, a team of researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) presented their latest research findings on the long-range predictions of rainfall on land. Their method is based on ocean salinity rather than...

Fishermen, Scientists Collaborate to Collect Climate Data

Fishermen, Scientists Collaborate to Collect Climate Data

May 23, 2016

Fishermen plying the waters off the southern New England coast have noticed significant changes in recent years.  Though generations of commercial fishermen have made their livings on these highly productive waters, now, they say, they are experiencing the impacts of...

Study Offers Clues to Better Rainfall Predictions

Study Offers Clues to Better Rainfall Predictions

May 6, 2016

The saltiness, or salinity, of seawater depends largely on how much moisture is pulled into the air as evaporative winds sweep over the ocean. But pinpointing where the moisture rains back down is a complicated question scientists have long contended...

Fiamma Straneo

Fiamma Straneo Selected for Prestigious Sverdrup Lecture

February 17, 2016

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has chosen Fiamma Straneo, a physical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), to deliver the Sverdrup Lecture at this year’s meeting of the Ocean Sciences section held in New Orleans from February 21-26, 2016....

flood

Warming Ocean Worsened Australia’s Fatal 2010/2011 Floods

November 18, 2015

As world leaders gather in Paris at the end of the month for the COP 21 climate summit, new research from scientists reveals the destructive impact the warming global ocean can have on society. A study by a team of...

New Study Projects That Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelves Will Intensify

New Study Projects That Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelves Will Intensify

October 12, 2015

New research published today projects a doubling of surface melting of Antarctic ice shelves by 2050 and that by 2100 melting may surpass intensities associated with ice shelf collapse, if greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel consumption continue at the...

Sudden Draining of Glacial Lakes Explained

June 3, 2015

In 2008 scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Washington documented for the first time how the icy bottoms of lakes atop the Greenland Ice Sheet can crack open suddenly—draining the lakes completely within hours and...

WHOI Scientists Receive $1 Million Grant from MacArthur Foundation

September 3, 2014

Rapid climate change and an increasing range of climate impacts are already being felt along our coasts, and new research suggests that U.S. Northeast coastal waters may be more vulnerable to climate change and ocean acidification than previously thought. How...