GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

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GFDL Research Highlights

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June 26, 2014 - Trajectory sensitivity of the transient climate response to cumulative carbon emission
The insensitivity of the global climate response once emissions cease in simplified coupled climate models has been used to argue for lack of committed warming based on past carbon emissions. Additional studies have also demonstrated that the cessation of carbon emissions results in a stabilization or decrease of global mean surface air temperature. Such studies generally assume either a 1%/year increase or an instantaneous doubling/quadrupling of atmospheric CO2. Read more...

May 23, 2014 - The Role of Global Climate Change in the Extreme Low Summer Arctic Sea Ice Extent in 2012
The rapid change in summer Arctic sea ice could have significant large scale climatic, ecological, and economic impacts. Understanding the mechanisms for the recent rapid decline in summer Arctic sea ice will help to predict future changes in summer Arctic sea ice and associated climatic, ecological, and economic impacts. Read more...

May 14, 2014 - The Poleward Migration of the Location of Tropical Cyclone Maximum Intensity
Tropical cyclones (TCs), including hurricanes and typhoons, are a major hazard around the globe, including North America. TCs have exhibited variability and change on a variety of timescales, including multi-decadal changes. Scientists used a novel method to measure changes in TC activity over the past 30 years: the location at which a tropical cyclone achieves its lifetime-maximum intensity (or LMI). Over the past 30 years the typical location of LMI has moved poleward in both hemispheres – at a rate of over 30 miles per decade. Read more...

May 7, 2014 - Contribution of Local and Remote Anthropogenic Aerosols to the 20th century Weakening of the South Asian Monsoon
The impact of the late 20th century changes of anthropogenic aerosols from local (i.e., South Asia) and remote (i.e., outside South Asia) sources on the South Asian summer monsoon is a rather unexplored topic. It has important implications for strategies to control regional pollution and understand its effect in climate. GFDL scientists investigated the impact of this change in aerosols on the South Asian monsoon. This work provides new insights into the pathway by which global anthropogenic aerosols affect long-term variations of the monsoon hydroclimate, which is still uncertain and largely debated in the scientific community. Read more...

February 14, 2014 - Changing Ocean may Challenge Atlantic Cod
This study uses climate projections from GFDL’s Earth system model (ESM2.1) to force an individual-based model for the larval stages of North Atlantic Cod at each of 5 cod spawning sites across the North Atlantic. The behavioral and physiological state of thousands of cod larvae is modeled in response to ESM projected physical and biological changes. The ESM-IBM coupling provides a unique means of exploring the mechanistic response of cod larvae to climate forcing. Read more...

February 6, 2014 - Solving the mystery of Hawaiian ozone changes
A potent greenhouse gas and biological irritant, ozone near the Earth surface is also a health-damaging air pollutant, regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Climate shifts have caused Asian ozone pollution reaching Hawaii to rise unexpectedly in autumn since mid-1990s, according to this study. The findings, published in Nature Geoscience, imply that variability in airflow patterns must be considered when attributing observed ozone changes to human-induced trends in precursor emissions. Read more...

January 28, 2014 - Regular patterns in frictional resistance of ice-stream beds seen by surface data inversion
This study advances our understanding of the physical processes controlling the dynamics of ice streams - pathways for ice discharge from the interior of ice sheets to surrounding oceans - and the leading source of uncertainty in projections of global sea level rise in the 21st century. Read more...

September 18, 2013 - The Extreme March-May 2012 Warm Anomaly Over the Eastern United States: Global Context and Multimodel Trend Analysis
The authors compared observations to model results, using 23 different CMIP5 models to simulate internal climate variability and the response to anthropogenic and natural forcing. The models were used to investigate the causes of the unusual warmth during March-May 2012 that occurred over the eastern U.S. The 20th century warming trend that was observed in this region is consistent with the CMIP5 multi-model ensemble results of All-Forcing runs but not consistent with model runs that did not include external forcing. Read more...

September 10, 2013 - Global-scale carbon and energy flows through the planktonic food web: an analysis with a coupled physical-biological model
Planktonic food web dynamics shape biogeochemical cycles and global patterns of ocean productivity across trophic levels. Primary production alone, for example, is a poor predictor of cross-ecosystem differences in fisheries yields. Predictive capability improves only after consideration of factors such as the number and efficiency of trophic links separating phytoplankton and fish. Limited representation and validation of planktonic food web dynamics within the present generation of Earth System Models limits both their resolution of biogeochemical processes and their utility for assessing climate impacts on living marine resources. Read more...

August 30, 2013 - Multi-Model Assessment of Regional Surface Temperature Trends: CMIP3 and CMIP5 20th Century Simulations
Evaluating climate simulations against observational data is a fundamental step in the evaluation and eventual improvement of models. Models can also help test our understanding of the causes of past variations of climate seen in the historical record. This analysis shows how current climate models, including those developed by NOAA, compare with observations in terms of their regional surface temperature trends since 1901. Read more...

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