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GFDL Research Highlights

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June 24, 2013 - Dynamical Downscaling Projections of Late 21st Century Atlantic Hurricane Activity: CMIP3 and CMIP5 Model-based Scenarios
The authors explored the influence of anthropogenic climate change on Atlantic hurricane activity in the 21st century, using dynamical climate models. The results of experiments using multi-model climate change scenarios were compared, with one scenario taken from CMIP3 (A1B), and one from CMIP5 (RCP4.5). A significant reduction in the frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes is projected for both CMIP3 and CMIP5 ensembles. Read more...

April 15, 2013 - Response to CO2 doubling of the Atlantic Hurricane Main Development Region in a High-Resolution Climate Model
The authors simulated the response of sea surface temperature (SST) in the Atlantic Hurricane Main Development Region (MDR) to a doubling of CO2, using a cutting-edge global high-resolution coupled model developed at GFDL (CM2.5). The model has been shown to produce a very faithful simulation of the observed seasonal cycle and year-to-year (or interannual) variability in the tropical Atlantic. The skillful representation of Atlantic interannual variability enables the exploration of the response of interannual variability to increasing CO2 – in addition to exploring changes in the average conditions in the Atlantic. Read more...

March 29, 2013 - Sensitivity of tropospheric oxidants to biomass burning emissions: implications for radiative forcing
Biomass burning is one of the largest sources of trace gases and aerosols in the atmosphere, and has profound influence on tropospheric oxidants and radiative forcing. Using a fully coupled chemistry-climate model (GFDL AM3), the authors found that co-emission of trace gases and aerosol from present-day biomass burning increases the global tropospheric ozone burden by 5.1%, and decreases global mean OH, a major sink for methane, by 6.3%. Read more...

March 11, 2013 - Ocean Warming effect on Surface Gravity Wave Climate Change for the end of the 21st Century
Future changes in wind-wave patterns have broad implications for ecosystems, as well as the design and operation of coastal, near-and-off-shore industries. Changes in response to global warming may further exacerbate the anticipated vulnerabilities of coastal regions to projected sea-level rise. Read more...

March 4, 2013 - Cloud tuning in a coupled climate model: impact on 20th century warming
Clouds remain one of the largest sources of uncertainty in predictions from climate models. Globally, clouds cool the Earth through the net effect of two opposing contributions: cooling from reflection of incoming solar radiation and warming from trapping of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth. By comparison, the cooling effect of clouds is estimated to be about six times larger than the warming effect resulting from the increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases since 1750. This is why uncertainties in the representation of clouds can have considerable impact on the simulated climate. Read more...

February 24, 2013 - Heat stress reduces labor capacity under climate warming
The authors use existing occupational health and safety thresholds to establish a new metric to quantify a healthy, acclimated individual’s capacity to safely perform sustained labor under environmental heat stress (what we call labor capacity). Using climate model projections, we apply this metric to quantify the direct impact of global warming on the global human population in the future. Read more...

February 15, 2013 - Controls of Global Snow Under a Changed Climate
Understanding snowfall variability is key to understanding future water supply in snowmelt-dominated regions, like the western U.S. This research validated GFDL’s coupled climate models, CM2.5 and CM2.1, for snowfall and explored changes in snowfall in a future climate experiment, to determine if resolution differences in the models influence snowfall signals. Read more...

February 1, 2013 - Contributions of Downstream Eddy Development to the Teleconnection between ENSO and the Atmospheric Circulation over the North Atlantic
El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the dominant pattern of interannual climate variability, and has strong influence on the atmospheric circulation around the globe. North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is another prominent mode of interannual variability in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics, and exerts a strong influence on the climate of the North Atlantic basin and the surrounding land areas. The main purpose of this study is to describe and assess of the interactions between these two prominent teleconnection patterns of the interannual climate variability. Read more...

January 21, 2013 - Springtime high surface ozone events over the western United States: Quantifying the role of stratospheric intrusions
Stratosphere-to-troposphere transport of ozone is a common occurrence at mid- and high latitudes, but its influence on tropospheric ozone levels remains a long-standing question, despite decades of research. GFDL scientists and colleagues analyzed balloon soundings, lidar, surface and satellite measurements using GFDL’s new global high-resolution chemistry-climate model, to look at the extent to which naturally occurring stratospheric ozone intrusions reach the surface and affect air quality. Read more...

January 14, 2013 - Have Aerosols Caused the Observed Atlantic Multi-decadal Variability?
Identifying the main drivers of the twentieth-century multi-decadal variability in the Atlantic Ocean is crucial for predicting how the Atlantic will evolve in the coming decades and the resulting broad impacts on weather and precipitation patterns around the globe. Another recently published paper suggested that aerosols are a prime driver of twentieth-century North Atlantic climate variability, based on simulations using the HadGEM2-ES (UK Met Office Hadley Centre Earth System Model). Read more...

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