GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

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The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) is engaged in comprehensive long lead-time research fundamental to NOAA's mission. Scientists at GFDL develop and use mathematical models and computer simulations to improve our understanding and prediction of the behavior of the atmosphere, the oceans, and climate. GFDL scientists focus on model-building relevant for society, such as hurricane research, prediction, and seasonal forecasting, and understanding global and regional climate change.

Since 1955, GFDL has set the agenda for much of the world's research on the modeling of global climate change and has played a significant role in the World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. GFDL's mission is to be a world leader in the development of earth system models, and the production of timely and reliable knowledge and assessments on natural climate variability and anthropogenic changes.

GFDL research encompasses the predictability and sensitivity of global and regional climate; the structure, variability, dynamics and interaction of the atmosphere and the ocean; and the ways that the atmosphere and oceans influence, and are influenced by various trace constituents. The scientific work of the Laboratory incorporates a variety of disciplines including meteorology, oceanography, hydrology, classical physics, fluid dynamics, chemistry, applied mathematics, and numerical analysis.

Research is also facilitated by the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program (AOS), which is a collaborative program at GFDL with Princeton University. Under this program, Princeton faculty, research scientists, and graduate students participate in theoretical studies, both analytical and numerical, and in observational experiments in the laboratory and in the field. The program is supported in part by NOAA funding. AOS scientists may also be involved in GFDL research through institutional or international agreements.

For an overview of GFDL's work, see our Fact Sheet.

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Research Highlights

  • March 23, 2015 Understanding ENSO Diversity - The El Niño / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is Earth's strongest interannual climate fluctuation, impacting weather, ecosystems, and economies around the world. Understanding the range of ENSO variation could help lead to longer range predictions of El Niño and La Niña events. The authors review the current state of understanding of diversity among different El Niño / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, which differ from event to event in their amplitude, spatial pattern, temporal evolution, dynamical mechanisms, and impacts. Read more
  • March 13, 2015 A link between the hiatus in global warming and North American drought - The authors use three GFDL climate models (CM2.1, CM2.5_FLOR, CM2.5_FLOR_FA) to study the mechanisms behind the hiatus in global warming over the last decade and their possible relationship to southwestern U.S. drought. This study suggests that a majority of the drought in the southwestern U.S. over the last decade is the result of persistent anomalous wind conditions in the tropical Pacific, and is likely due to natural variability. Read more
  • March 6, 2015 Improved Seasonal Prediction of Temperature and Precipitation over Land in a High-resolution GFDL Climate Model - Skillful seasonal predictions of surface temperature and precipitation over land are in demand, due to their importance to ecosystems and sectors such as agriculture, energy, transportation. This study demonstrates skillful seasonal prediction of near-surface air temperature and precipitation over land using a new high-resolution climate model developed at GFDL, called FLOR. The study also diagnoses the sources of the prediction skill. Read more
  • February 24, 2015 An Extreme Event of Sea-level Rise along the Northeast Coast of North America in 2009–2010 - Coastal sea levels along continental margins often show significant year-to-year upward and downward fluctuations. These fluctuations are superimposed on a longer term upward trend associated with the rise in global mean sea level, with global mean sea level rising at roughly 3 mm per year during the recent 20 years of accurate satellite measures. For society, it is the regional changes along any particular coastal zone that are most important. Our analysis of multi-decadal tide gauge records along the North American east coast identified an extreme sea-level rise event during 2009–2010. Within this relatively brief two-year period, coastal sea level north of New York City jumped by up to 128 mm. This magnitude of inter-annual sea level rise is unprecedented in the tide gauge records, with statistical methods suggesting that it was a 1-in-850 year event. Read more

Read more GFDL Research Highlights

Events & Seminars

  • April 2, 2015: TBA
    Jeremey Fyke (Los Alamos Natl. Lab)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • April 9, 2015: TBA
    Joanie Kleypas (NCAR)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • April 16, 2015: A 21st Century Northward Tropical Precipitation Shift Caused by Future Anthropogenic Aerosol Reductions (abstract)
    Robert Allen (UC - Riverside)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • April 23, 2015: TBA
    Tim Lenton (Exeter - UK)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • April 29, 2015: Get more from your data with PyFerret (abstract)
    Karl Smith (NOAA/PMEL (Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory))
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • April 30, 2015: Uncertainty in climate change projections: the role of internal atmospheric circulation variability (abstract)
    Clara Deser (NCAR)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • May 6, 2015: TBA
    Pu Lin (AOS/GFDL)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • May 7, 2015: TBA
    Jean-Francois Lamarque (GFDL)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room

More events & seminars...