Woodwell Climate Research Center

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Woodwell Climate Research Center
Founded1985 (38 years ago) (1985)
FocusClimate Change
HeadquartersWoods Hole, Falmouth, Massachusetts, United States
Area served
Key people
George Woodwell, Philip Duffy, John Holdren

Woodwell Climate Research Center, formerly known as the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) until August 2020,[1] is a scientific research organization that studies climate change impacts and solutions. The International Center for Climate Governance named WHRC the world's top climate change think tank for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.[2]

Woodwell conducts research on the causes and impacts of climate change throughout the tropics, the Arctic, and North America. The Center designs all of its work to inform policy or answer policy questions[3][4][5] and is composed of six core units: Arctic, Carbon, Risk, Tropics, Water, and Impact.


The Woods Hole Research Center was established in 1985 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts by George Woodwell. WHRC was one of the first organizations dedicated to fighting global climate change and Woodwell testified to Congress in 1986 about the dangers of sea level rise and global warming.[6]

The plan for developing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was drafted at the Woods Hole Research Center in the late 1980s by Woodwell and Kilaparti Ramakrishna.[7] In 2005, Dr. John P. Holdren became the director and he continued to lead the organization until he was appointed as President Obama's science advisor in 2009. Holdren returned to WHRC as a senior advisor in 2017 after President Obama left office.[8]

In 2020, the Center was renamed to the Woodwell Climate Research Center to emphasize the scientific focus on climate change and honor the founder, George Woodwell.[1]

The organization's current president is Dr. Philip Duffy, a physicist who was formerly the White House National Science and Technology Council’s Senior Advisor to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.[9] Woodwell Climate has about 80 staff members.

The Woodwell Climate Research Center headquarters in Falmouth, MA

The Center's Gilman Ordway Campus, located on Cape Cod in the town of Falmouth, was completed in 2004. The 19,300 sq ft (1,790 m2) building is composed of a renovated summer estate (ca. 1874) and a new wing. The campus is energy neutral, with renewable power generated by a 100 kW wind turbine, as well as rooftop photo-voltaic power systems.[10]


The International Center for Climate Governance has named Woodwell as the world's top climate change think tank for four years in a row—2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.[11] The award is based on quantitative and analytical data, including activities, publications and dissemination.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Woods Hole Research Center Changes Name to Woodwell Climate Research Center". CapeCod.com. 2020-08-20. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  2. ^ Driscoll, Sean (July 1, 2016). "Woods Hole think tank takes top spot on climate change". Cape Cod Times. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  3. ^ "Woods Hole Research Center - Where We Work". Woods Hole Research Center. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Mooney, Chris (December 9, 2015). "How the Earth itself could undermine a Paris climate agreement". Washington Post. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  5. ^ Silva-Chavez, Gustavo (December 12, 2015). "Forests Emerge as a Big Winner in Paris Agreement". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  6. ^ Mooney, Chris (June 11, 2016). "30 years ago scientists warned Congress on global warming. What they said sounds eerily familiar". Washington Post. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Goldstone, Heather (November 7, 2016). "Paris Agreement in Effect, But Much Work Remains to Stabilize Climate". WCAI. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Fraser, Doug. "Former Obama science adviser returns to Cape". capecodtimes.com. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  9. ^ Goldstone, Heather (November 2, 2015). "Meet the Directors: Three New Presidents Take the Helm in Woods Hole". WCAI. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  10. ^ "Environmentally-Friendly Campus – Woods Hole Research Center". whrc.org. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  11. ^ "ICCG CLIMATE THINK TANK RANKING 2015: THE RESULTS". Think Tank Map. International Center for Climate Governance. June 23, 2016.
  12. ^ "About the Ranking". Think Tank Map - About the Ranking. International Center for Climate Governance. Retrieved August 25, 2016.

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Coordinates: 41°32′58″N 70°38′37″W / 41.5495°N 70.6435°W / 41.5495; -70.6435